How Secure Will Google Wallet Be?

Google has published some more details in the form of a FAQ on its dedicated Google Wallet section to highlight how secure the service will be for everyday use.

With your smartphone likely to take over from your wallet as the gatekeeper to all your financial details as well as your individual profile, losing a device that was originally restricted to making voice calls may well seem to be the perfect way of losing one's identity.

Google however has added some features to Wallet that makes it even more secure than its traditional plastic based counterpart. For a start, if your phone has a tracking feature like the iPhone's FindmyiPhone, you will be able to track the device and therefore your payment gateway at the same time.

Furthermore, Google Wallet is built in such a way that even if someone tried to deliberately activate your phone either to perform an illicit transaction or to read data off the NFC chip, it would be a fruitless attempt. The antenna is only activated when the screen is powered and any transaction will only take place when the Google Wallet PIN is entered.

Key to the security features of Google Wallet is something called Secure Element which is separate from the phone's OS & hardware and allows encrypted protocols to "enforce access control". Google has also enforced several levels of protection - which it won't disclose - to protect data stored on the Secure Element.

Like Chromebook, the Secure Element will depend on hardware encryption to maintain strict protection against snooping and tampering attempts.