Thu, Jun 29, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Payment system temporarily offline over security fears

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government’s Department of Information Technology yesterday said pay.taipei, a government mobile payment platform that was launched on Sunday, might have exposed users to personal information leaks, but that the problem had been fixed.

The platform, which allows Taipei residents to pay water and parking bills, as well as medical fees at Taipei City Hospital’s eight branches using their smartphone, was launched by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on Sunday.

However, users said that the protocol used to send data between the users’ browser and Web page was only the common HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), meaning that the data exchanged is not encrypted, like it is through HTTP Secure (HTTPS), and might expose users to personal information leaks.

The department on Tuesday said in a news release that it had discovered the security risk at about 2pm on Tuesday, and fixed the problem by 4pm and the Web page was relaunched, while the mobile app would be suspended for two to three days before a relaunch.

Department Deputy Commissioner Gao Yong-huang (高永煌) yesterday said the pay.taipei platform does not save personal information or deal with cash flow or authentication, but is only an integrated intermediary service platform.

The general public would not be able to see the personal information, only technicians with certain skills could obtain limited and fragmented data, he said, adding that about 1,000 people have applied for the service and no cases of identity theft have been reported.

Gao said the Web site was fixed by 8pm and the app was fixed by 10pm on Tuesday.

However. while the Android version has been updated and relaunched, updating the iOS version would require several more days, he said.

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