While Apple Pay and chip and pin cards are starting to come onto the retail scene, they're not going to revolutionize how we pay for holiday gifts this year. Apple Pay is still limited to a small number of consumers -- those with an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus shopping at retailers that accept Apple Pay -- and chip and pin technology isn't expected to be widely adopted until next fall in the United States.
Beware a Trojan USB
McAfee's annual 12 Scams of the Holidays list includes expected items such as phishing and point-of-sale hacks, but it also references corporate gifts -- USB drives specifically. What could seem like a harmless client gift could infect malware onto your work computer.
"The reason we're cautioning is because of the recently discovered flaw in the USB architecture," Davis says. At this year's Black Hat hacker conference, researchers demonstrated that the controller chips on USB devices can be reprogrammed, and there's no way for the host computer (or the user, for that matter) to detect that this has happened.
"USBs can now contract an undetectable -- and unfixable -- virus that can be spread quite easily," Davis says, adding that, simple put, they can no longer be considered secure.
That doesn't necessarily mean the gift-giver is trying to hack into your corporate system, of course. It does mean, though, that USBs can have malware pre-installed on them before the gift-giver even gets the device in his or her hands.
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