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Thursday, March 16, 2006

It's 8 a.m. Do you know where your PIN is?

Here's a thought: You're checking out in the grocery or big-box store. Your card is swiped at the register - and by a nearby hacker reading the store's unprotected wireless network.

VISA and Mastercard have been pushing merchants to tighten card security, according to eWeek, a tech-zine aimed at network administrators and the like. But they've achieved only limited compliance, the magazine says:

  • There's nothing like credit card ID theft to make computer security relevant to the general public. We've had a lot of news lately on the subject and it deserves to be big news.
  • There's a good chance we'll have more of it in the months to come, and not just the usual "thousands of card numbers were stolen" stuff.
  • In big-box stores and modern supermarkets you're likely to find lots of Wi-Fi that they use to quickly and cheaply install new equipment without having to run wires. Do you think the store manager has had any training in network management?
  • Story: Credit card security issues rise to a boil

Debit cards can be less secure than credit cards, and here's a good column in USA Today with tips on how debit-card users can protect themselves.

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