Two self-described hackers have demonstrated how the ubiquitous Square Reader used by taxi and Uber drivers, among others, can be turned into a credit card skimmer in under 10 minutes by simply soldering a wire to bypass the reader's encryption chip. According to one of the hackers, "Any layman could do it." Square replied it has in place precautions which protect cards swiped on unencrypted readers, and that the threat is limited to magnetic strip cards. [Issuance of microchip-embedded ("chip") cards began in October.]
Regardless, we urge readers to closely monitor their monthly credit card statements (and regularly check online if internet access to the account is available) to confirm all charges are legitimate and proper.
Check out our series, Privacy Perils, to learn what steps you can take to guard your personal and company data. For more information about this topic and other cyber security concerns, please contact Bob Brewer, Tony McFarland, Elizabeth Warren or a member of our Privacy & Data Security team.