Feeds

Unsolicited credit card push irks security researchers

On tin snips and tin-foil hats

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A top UK security expert has criticised the practice of issuing unsolicited credit cards.

Professor Ross Anderson of Cambridge University reports how his wife recently received a pre-approved, unsolicited Gold Mastercard from UK store Debenhams with a credit limit of more than £1,000 through the post.

The security implications, as well as the ethics, of these type of inertia sales irk Anderson. Following Debenhams' advice of cutting up the card and throwing it in the bin simply doesn't pass muster, he argues. For one thing, the UK's move to Chip and PIN on plastic cards as an alternative to signature-authorised transactions complicates the problem of disposing of unwanted plastic cards.

"The average customer has no idea how to ‘cut up’ a card now that it’s got a chip in it," he writes .

"Bisecting the plastic using scissors leaves the chip functional, so someone who fishes it out of the trash might use a yescard to clone it, even if they don’t know the PIN. The PIN mailer might be in the same bin.

"Here at the Lab we do have access to the means to destroy chips (HNO3, HF) but you really don’t want that stuff at home. Putting 240V through it will stop it working - but as this melts the bonding wires, an able attacker might depackage and rebond the chip," he adds.

Anderson suggests consumers ought to destroy unwanted cards with either a hack saw or a robust pair of tin snips. "This isn’t foolproof as there exist labs that can retrieve data from chip fragments, but it’s probably good enough to keep out the hackers," Anderson adds. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.