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MSNBC: Can hackers kill credit cards?

Mar 17, 2000, 01:19 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bob Sullivan)

"The raging success of online thieves, some say, will force the hand of banks, merchants, credit card companies and consumers to change the way we spend money much sooner than we intended."

"Several technologies hope to tip the scales against thieves by implementing systems that require some real-world physical component when shopping online. Smart cards, the generic term for any plastic which includes an embedded microchip, are one promising solution."

"Smart cards, which identify the user through encrypted information embedded on the chip, must be inserted into a 'card reader' attached to the computer. That means the card can't be used for e-commerce unless the purchaser is currently holding it."

"A PIN number is also required, so a thief needs to physically have the card and a security code in order to use it. That's not an insurmountable hurdle, but a far more difficult one than using 'a number and a date.' "

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