(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
anti-fraud, credit cards, fraud


Visa Tests New Anti-Fraud Card Device, But What About The Data Leaks?

from the finger-in-the-dike dept

Visa is testing a new type of credit card that's got additional security measures built in as a means of cutting down on "card not present" (CNP) fraud -- the fraudulent sales rung up using stolen credit-card numbers and the security codes that are normally printed on the cards. Visa's new cards have a small screen on the back that displays a six-digit code when the cardholder enters a PIN on the card's keypad, making it sound like Visa has basically built in a tiny version of something akin to the SecurID, a popular two-factor authentication device for corporate computer networks. The devices generate an additional one-time password using an algorithm synced with the system on the other end; the user enters this password when they attempt to log on, or in Visa's case, make a CNP transaction. If the passwords match, the transaction goes ahead. It sounds like a good way to cut down on CNP fraud, but is it just a way to try and gloss over the massive data leaks that see millions of credit-card numbers lost out into the world? It almost seems that if these new anti-fraud cards make it to market, the party line will be "the data leaks don't matter anymore" -- but criminals will still be able to obtain credit-card numbers and make fake cards with the stolen info (for card-present fraud). It might make criminals' lives a little more difficult, but it won't make credit-card fraud impossible. Raising the level of security on credit cards is, without question, a good thing. But unless it involves doing more to stop massive data leaks, it's not enough.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Freedom, May 14th, 2009 @ 11:54pm

    Good start...

    Sure, data leaks need attention too, but this security measure is a welcome change. Besides, even if you do everything at a corporate level to secure the information in a CIA type fashion, it will still leak via infected PCs, etc. and no system is perfect at protecting data loss.

    As they say, go for the lay hanging fruit and even if the card data is compromised this could potentially stop it from having any real world affect.

    Add to this an enhanced card reader that will automatically download the code at a store when presented in person and you just made duplicating the card incredibly difficult.

    Sounds to me like they've taking the system that DirecTV uses for their Access Cards and put it into a credit card. Hope no one is watching/reading this, sounds like time for a patent lawsuit or time for DirecTV to get a really good transaction rate on their merchant account.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Bettawrekonize, May 15th, 2009 @ 12:11am

    I think a one time password generator is a great idea. Corporations already do this. Everyone can have a device that has a key and every 5 or 10 or whatever minutes it creates a new password based on the time. Every device has a different key and some devices can have multiple keys for multiple different uses (ie: three different credit cards using three different keys). When someone goes to a store to buy something they tell the device how they want to purchase an item (ie: they select which credit card to use) and the device generates the appropriate password based on the time and the appropriate key. Then the person types it in and the purchase is made. The person gets a receipt. That specific password CAN'T ever be used again to purchase anything else, even within the 5 minute time frame that the password is valid. If the person wants to purchase something else they would have to wait for five more minutes for a new password to be generated. (One could develop ways around this if this is a huge inconvenience). This way no one can purchase a bunch of other stuff within the next five minutes. If the device is ever stolen then the person has to report it as such and the keys in the device are simply deactivated and the person gets a new device with new keys (and they may need to pay a fee). This is basically what many corporations already do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Stephen Turner, May 15th, 2009 @ 1:55am


    This seems like a good idea. But I think a greater impact could be made in the U.S. by moving to Chip & Pin, which I think is in use pretty much everywhere else now. Typing a PIN into a little machine rather than signing makes stolen cards useless in (physical) stores. Of course there are other vectors for fraud, which also have to be dealt with, but I believe Chip & Pin has made a big difference where it's been introduced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Dav, May 15th, 2009 @ 3:04am

    it cirtainly wont make credit card fraud impossible but it will make it more difficault which is the point

    If it is harder to get the details to clone a card, get the details to then use said card and then to actually make use of it the amount of card fraud will come down and more will be protected.

    I do agree with Stepehn though, It seems useless that measures are in place in many countries, but not in the US. All this does is create a parket to ship details to making them easy to use and thus the new systems impact will be greatly reduced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Naed Peterson, May 15th, 2009 @ 5:11am


    "I do agree with Stepehn though, It seems useless that measures are in place in many countries, but not in the US. All this does is create a parket to ship details to making them easy to use and thus the new systems impact will be greatly reduced." I agree too. It is amazing that some less developed countries have better standards then the states...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Bresslau, May 15th, 2009 @ 5:23am


    Well, the technology itself is impressive! Other uses for such slim keypads and displays, anyone?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Dolphineus, May 15th, 2009 @ 6:11am

    Every processor that accepts Visa will have to change their system to accommodate this. If I am shopping at an online store who uses a credit card processor who has not updated, will I still be able to use this card?

    How durable is the card? How easy is it to kill the pin pad or LCD window? How does it hold up to the abuse cards take in the real world? Heat? Cold? Bending? Magnetic or electronic interference?

    Who eats the cost of replacing these things?

    I'm not aware of any SecurID type system being hacked, but there has never been this much MONEY available for hacking them. How long will it be until this too is compromised (most likely by some website/online processor being hacked)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Tgeigs, May 15th, 2009 @ 6:29am

    Re: Technology

    "Other uses for such slim keypads and displays, anyone?"

    Making midget porn look proportional?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    :Lobo Santo, May 15th, 2009 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Technology

    Wait... how does it look now then?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Jerry Leichter, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:38pm

    Data leaks are a different issue

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Jerry Leichter, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:48pm

    Data leaks are a different issue

    The problem right now is that credit card numbers are supposed to be magical: On the one hand, their security depends entirely on their security. On the other, to *use* a credit card, you have to reveal the number. So you have this number you must keep secret, that is only useful if you reveal it to large numbers of people and institutions, whether you can realistically trust them or not.

    Sure enough, if you have to share "secret" information with large numbers of parties, there will be many copies - and some will inevitably leak.

    The only way to *really* fix the problem is to get rid of the whole nonsense of a secret-but-public number. That's what this kind of approach does: There's nothing to steal, because there's no value in the number given to any particular third party beyond a single transaction.

    It's not so much that crime gets harder, as that its nature changes. There are still plenty of attacks - they are just different, and require an attacker to be present in different places and have different skills and tools. (In fact, the attacks now are *so* trivial that any change is for the better!)

    A couple of things are worth understanding, however:

    - Credit cards are not the only "secret but public" pieces of information. All sorts of banking information is like that. There's enough information on any check you write to enable an attacker to empty your account! There haven't been as many attacks against this infrastructure because it's a bit harder to get away with crimes - you have to move money to an account at another bank, which is usually easy to trace unless you have more sophisticated connections - and it's been so much easier to attack credit cards. Make credit cards more secure, and attacks on banking information may rise rapidly.

    - There's plenty of other data that really *is* private (medical records, financial records, etc.) that can still leak, so we need general solutions here.

    - This fix is not without its convenience costs. Ever order something on-line in your pajamas? You'll have to go find your credit card now - you won't be able to type in your credit card number from memory. It remains to be seen whether people will accept these costs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Jerry Leichter, May 15th, 2009 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Data leaks are a different issue

    Oops, typo right at the top. Their security depends entirely on their *secrecy*!

    -- Jerry

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    John B. Frank, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:55pm

    Payment Security

    This Visa card is a good idea, but it's expensive. The most effective way to get rid of Card Not Present fraud is to make the Card Present. In the brick and mortar world the customer goes to the store and swipes their card (and enters their PIN) into a Point of Sale device at the store...hence card present. In the "virtual" world, since the customer can't go to the store to swipe their card and enter their PIN into a POS device, they need to have their own "personal" POS Device. HomeATM designed and currently manufactures the "first and only" PCI 2.0 Certified PIN Entry Device designed exclusively for e Commerce. ($15) Data leaking is also solved as it 3DES Encrypts the data inside the box and the data is NEVER in the clear. It is sent encrypted and is not decrypted until it reaches its destination (which has a unique key to unlock each transaction) With fraud at an all time high, and growing higher still, this is the only way to secure financial transactions on the Internet. To read more about Payments Security, feel free to visit the PIN Payments News Blog at http://PINDebit.blogspot.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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