June 5, 2015

More Credit Card Security

Gold Nanoparticles
Finally, A Credit Card Fraud Ebola?

About a year and a half ago our credit card number was hacked from a department store where I had just purchased a Christmas gift for my wife. Over $5k in electronics was charged to my account; mostly charges to California-based internet sites. Like millions of other card holders, insurance covered this theft. We reported this to the police and to our credit union and never heard another thing about it.

The security officer at the credit union told us that in North America we do not use credit cards that utilize microchip technology to minimize theft, as in Europe, but that it was finally coming to the US. Until then we would be stuck with the old magnetic strip technology that the Russians love to break.
"If you look at the quantity of malware attacks, the leaders are China, Latin America and then Eastern Europe, but in terms of quality then Russia is probably the leader," said Vitaly Kamluk, a cyber security researcher in Moscow.

Two of the five most wanted men in the United States for cyber crime are Russian, and one is from Latvia, which used to be part of the Soviet Union.

Russians were also behind the biggest cyber crime case in U.S. history. Federal prosecutors named four Russians and a Ukrainian in a banking card fraud spree that cost companies including J.C. Penney Co, JetBlue Airways Corp and French retailer Carrefour SA more than $300 million.

We just got our first cards with this technology in the mail yesterday. It should serve to reduce credit card fraud.
The technology is not totally bulletproof (paywall) and other problems exist that lead to credit card fraud. But it’s pretty telling that the adoption of EMV chip-and-pin technology in the UK, which began all the way back in 2003, has led to a 70% reduction in counterfeit fraud in the UK over the past decade, according to Barclays.
There is more security technology on the way.
A team of researchers led by Dr Roderick Davidson II of Vanderbilt University has created nano-spirals with unique optical properties that would be almost impossible to counterfeit if they were added to credit cards and other important objects.

Most other investigators who have studied the remarkable properties of microscopic spirals have done so by arranging discrete nanoparticles in a spiral pattern: similar to spirals drawn with a series of dots of ink on a piece of paper.

By contrast, the nano-spirals created by Dr Davidson and co-authors have solid arms and are much smaller: a square array with 100 nano-spirals on a side is less than 0.01 mm wide.

“They are certainly smaller than any of the spirals we’ve found reported in the scientific literature,” said Dr Davidson, first author of the paper reporting the results in the journal Nanophotonics.

When these spirals are shrunk to sizes smaller than the wavelength of visible light, they develop unusual optical properties.
When exposed to different kinds of light, the nanoparticles generate unique patterns that can be used for identification purposes.
“The combination of the unique characteristics of their frequency doubling and response to polarized light provide the nano-spirals with a unique, customizable sign.
Like everything else, what was created by man can be defeated by man. Especially if there is a buck to be made ... or stolen.

1 comment:

Kid said...

We have one card that's been replaced by the chip card. It ensures the purchase was made by someone who holds the card if it was made in person. But what about on line purchases ? And even if the store -Sam's Club in our case- has the new card readers we can still slide the card using the mag strip.
Apparently, the US is more concerned about the convenience of the shopper than the security. Even though we're not responsible for the fraud use, we are still paying for it one way or the other.

Europe also requires a pin to be used with the card which helps with on line fraud reduction.