PCI Gotchas: 12-Year-Old Data And Publishing Encryption Keys

Written by Evan Schuman
November 19th, 2008

In retail security circles, the buzz these days surrounds card replacement techniques. The problem? All of the approaches sound pretty much identical until you get deep into the details, which is hardly practical when you’re trying to triage a group of 30 vendors into a handful to truly explore.

StorefrontBacktalk held a podcast this week to try and figure out ways to make this process easier. Our own PCI columnist, David Taylor, pointed out that IT far too often leaves the financial folk—the comptroller, in particular—out of the decision process, along with the payment processor. Those are two players who you really want to keep involved.

Panelist J.D. Oder, the chief technology officer at Shift4, warned against approaches that don’t try and protect data at all stages. For example, he spoke of some retailers who are using tokenization but are then "printing this token on the receipts, and it’s a portion of their encryption keys and they’re releasing those to the world." He also complained that the card brands are making the problem far worse by refusing to shorten how long their expiration dates are valid. "We now have to worry about data that’s been there as many as 12 years." To hear the full discussion, please click here.


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Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

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