Smart Credit Cards Don’t Make Up For Dumb Credit Card Readers

August 13, 2014, Written By Lynn Oldshue
credit card reader machine

Chip and PIN credit cards are thought to be the solution for credit card security issues in the United States, but hacking experts have recently revealed those accounts may be more vulnerable than we think. The smart cards themselves may be fully protected, but the machines that process them are fairly simple to hack.

Chip and PIN credit card readers work by encrypting PIN numbers and not storing credit card data. This is what will ideally keep criminals from obtaining your card information. However, the researchers at MWR Labs found they were able to make the machines work against their instincts, storing both card numbers and PINs for someone to steal.

These terminals are easy to hack because they assume every card that passes through is a legitimate bank card. All the hackers have to do is use a fake card with malware on it to change the system’s programming to work in their favor.

What makes this issue even worse is the fact that the hack is hard to track. If the machine is turned off at the end of the day, it will wipe out all evidence of the hack. Turn it back on and it will function as it was originally programmed to do.

Perhaps the chip and PIN card alone is not the final answer to credit card security. But at least researchers are trying to fix potential problems before they become a reality.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of August 13, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.