Digital wallets have become a trend in mobile payment platforms. They are hugely popular, convenient, localized, and completely digital. Consumers seem excited to have these new digital wallets available and have rapidly adopted them. Businesses have responded to the demand, some of which accept digital wallets like Apple Pay. Others allow customers to use dedicated digital wallets for their stores. For example Starbucks lets customers create a digital wallet through a smartphone app specifically for use at their stores. Consumers love this new use of technology, but how safe is it from cyber thieves?

Recently, news broke that hackers launched a brute force attack that breached a number of Starbucks digital wallets and gave the hackers access to user passwords. The Starbucks hackers cracked easy passwords (like “123456” or “111111”), and also took advantage of recycled passwords purchased on the black market.

CSID, a Texas-based identity protection and fraud detection company, reports that many people use usernames and passwords for multiple digital and online accounts. As a result, if hackers gain access to one set of information, they can access a number of other accounts held by the same victim. Computer programs that try to break into accounts by this method make simple work of what would seem like a huge endeavor. Some programs run through thousands of username and password credentials in a matter of minutes.

Good Practices When Using A Digital Wallet

Just like a physical wallet, no one wants his digital wallet stolen. As consumers, we should remember that a digital wallet functions like a mini bank account, and we should make sure to protect it from thieves. Consider the following tips for securing your digital wallet from cyber thieves:

  • Good Password Protection Goes A Long Way. A strong, unique password provides the best line of defense against brute force hacks. Strong passwords incorporate upper and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers and are 12-20 characters long.
  • Have different usernames and passwords for different accounts. Refrain from recycling usernames and passwords across different online and digital accounts. Your best strategy for protecting yourself from hackers includes having a unique username and password for each and every account you have.
  • Update the digital wallet software when updates become available. When developers identify vulnerabilities in apps and other software, they provide users with software patches to fix those vulnerabilities. Keeping your software up-to-date will make it more difficult for hackers to take your money.
  • Keep your digital wallet with you. Like a physical wallet, your digital wallet is best protected with you. If you access your digital wallet through your smartphone or tablet, make sure that you know the whereabouts of your digital device is at all times, and keep the password protected.