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The use of distractions in politics has skyrocketed in the past few years as candidates and others have realized how effective it can be to get the media talking about something else – anything else – when it’s you that’s under the glare of scrutiny. The strategy is often called “look, a squirrel!”, an allusion to the Pixar film Up in which dogs’ conversations are instantly paralyzed when any canine participant observes (or thinks he may have observed) a squirrel.
Last week U.S. House Small Business Committee held the second part of a hearing entitled “The EMV Deadline and What it Means for Small Businesses,” which was supposed to address payment security in the United States. Instead of providing Congress with useful information about how to help small businesses protect consumer data, large national retail associations used the hearing to push for a “security” solution – PIN – that wouldn’t have done anything to stop the breaches at Target, Home Depot or Michaels and won’t have a meaningful impact on overall payments fraud. Lost in this charade was the fact that the migration to EMV chip cards and the activation of chip readers by merchants is a critical step in further improving consumer protection. We’ve already seen tremendous progress; 60% of cards are expected to be chip-enabled by the end of the year, and half of all chip payment volume … Continue reading
Congress is an intentionally deliberative body. It was structured by our founders to ensure collective participation in shaping government policy, and sometimes that allows certain factions to disrupt the legislative process purely for their own self-interest. Such is the case with the retail industry sidelining the debate over data security by resuscitating tired and largely settled complaints over the transition to EMV chip technology. As ICBA recently testified before the House Small Business Committee, community banks are in a good position to help small businesses make the switch to EMV technology. The transition itself has been underway since 2011. And the Oct. 1 liability shift has come and gone with banks and merchants diligently moving toward implementing EMV. But rather than entering into a substantive dialogue about the limitations of chip technology and collaborating on further improving consumer security in an era of data breaches and cyber-threats, retail industry lobbyists … Continue reading
Right now, federal policymakers are debating how best to protect consumer data from hackers, a discussion that is long overdue. The House Small Business Committee will convene their second hearing today on the major security upgrade that the financial services industry is bringing to payment cards. Our industry is proud of this upgrade, but more needs to be done, especially by other industries that customers entrust with their personal data. The bottom line: retailers need to focus on protecting their customers’ data before it gets breached.
What would happen if there was a decades-old drug that was only effective for a very small number of patients, had potential bad side effects and was rapidly being eclipsed by more effective drugs, yet a vocal minority continued to push this drug as the cure-all, and wanted to require everyone to take it? In all likelihood, no one would take this snake oil sales pitch seriously.
One billion. That’s the number of personally identifiable information records stolen through data breaches in 2014, according to a report from IBM and the Ponemon Institute. Even those who follow the news may be surprised by that number. The reality is that while a few major breaches have made headlines, most fly under the radar. There is no reason to believe that we will see any decrease in cyber assaults in the coming years. In fact, we expect them to rise as our lives increasingly move online. The payments industry has been on the front lines protecting against security threats, and has consistently risen to new challenges. Since 1999, financial institutions including credit unions have adhered to the stringent standards of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that help safeguard consumers’ sensitive personal and financial information. Most recently, payments card issuers have been protecting consumer data through the use of new EMV chip … Continue reading
EMV Not an End-All for Card Security While migration to cards with chip technology should help mitigate card fraud, additional steps by retailers and more layers of security are needed. Over the past few years, consumers have experienced a flurry of data breaches that have brought the issue of payments card security to the fore. Cybersecurity is a complex issue where no single solution is a panacea, but make no mistake: the migration to EMV chip cards is one of the most significant improvements to payments card security in years. It should help to mitigate card fraud at the point of sale. As president of the ICBA, I and the 6,000 community banks we represent are very familiar with both EMV technology and how the transition is taking place at the local level. In fact, we recently had the opportunity to share these observations and experiences at an Oct. 7 … Continue reading
If you’ve ever had a credit card number stolen, you know what a serious pain it can be. Losing a card to fraud can be the simple annoyance of your card being cancelled by the watchful credit card issuing company and having to wait for a new card to a full out identity theft which can cost thousands. How are cyber thieves stealing the card numbers? The main way for thieves to get your information comes from beaching the older large department stores’, or “Big Box Stores,” often-antiquated technology. A customer’s single biggest vulnerability for identity theft and credit card fraud is using your card at major retail stores that have repeatedly been breached by hackers. These stores use outdated kiosk computers to process sales. These retailers have allowed clever thieves to install viruses that silently relay customers’ credit card info back to them. This is how Target negligently lost … Continue reading
On Wednesday, the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on the Europay, MasterCard, Visa (EMV) chip payment system which offers a more secure payment system for credit card transactions. But while the new technology is a big improvement, it does not signal an end to credit card fraud. The FBI recently issued a bulletin warning consumers to remain vigilant, despite the new technology. If you’re unfamiliar with the technology, EMV credit cards include a small microchip that encrypts your card information when you use it at a specially equipped payment kiosk. If the kiosk is appropriately configured, it cannot access the real credit card number, just an encrypted version of it, thwarting a virus, for example, from pilfering it during the transaction. However, an FBI press release includes a succinct summary of any effort to prevent fraud: “no one technology eliminates fraud and cybercriminals will continue to look … Continue reading
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), who was wrong about price controls on interchange fees on credit and debit card transactions fives years ago, now sides with the big box stores in pushing for ineffective “chip and pin” protections on credit and debit cards. Durbin is hardly an expert on these issues, but he surely is bought and paid for by retailers. While it’s claimed the lack of these features makes us vulnerable to fraud, the single biggest vulnerability is for identity theft and credit card fraud in your name: it’s using your card at major retail store that have repeatedly been breached by hackers. Contrary to what credit card security expert Durbin claims, more than chip and pin is needed to ensure security of our credit and debit cards. Using outdated kiosk computers to process sales, retailers have allowed clever thieves to install viruses that silently relay customers’ credit card info … Continue reading