Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


10:00 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme

Visa To Test New Credit Card Security Tactic

Credit cards were never designed for online purchases. They were designed more than 50 years ago for face-to-face purchases, yet credit card companies and online merchants continue to try to re-tool credit cards as viable for online payments.

Credit cards were never designed for online purchases. They were designed more than 50 years ago for face-to-face purchases, yet credit card companies and online merchants continue to try to re-tool credit cards as viable for online payments.The credit card industry has tried adding security codes to online transactions. They've tried fancy anti-fraud algorithms they don't like talking much about publicly. And the industry has tried the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Neither together, or individually does it seem any of these efforts have successfully stemmed online transaction fraud. And I doubt they ever will.

The folks from Visa Europe have announced a new scheme. They want to plant a random number generator on a credit card:

[Visa PIN Card] combines a debit or credit chip with technology that generates a secure one-time-only code displayed to the cardholder via an integrated eight-digit alpha-numeric screen. Not only is it extremely user-friendly to operate, it has a built-in battery designed to last for at least three years. As a result it offers issuers with a completely secure solution to better authenticate online transactions while giving cardholders ultimate peace of mind when shopping over the telephone or internet without the need for a separate device.

Sounds like a really enhanced shopping experience, doesn't it? And I'll bet online retailers just can't wait to re-tool their shopping cards to accept this new capability.

By the way, don't start checking the mail every day for your new random-number enabled credit card. They're going to be tested for six to 12 months to see how well things shake out.

In the meantime, security experts will probably point out numerous ways the random number generation could be bypassed. For instance, maybe hackers will figure a way to crack the random number generator to results that will work with the system. Or perhaps a man-in-the middle attack could be used to capture the codes as they're being entered, and then quickly used on another site.

I wouldn't worry about such tactics. I'm sure Visa Europe will then issue a firmware update that will temporarily thwart the hackers who figured out the original random number generator, and the man-in-the-middle attacks can be defeated by placing a digital signature on each card. All the online merchants would have to do is then update their sites with some "simple" PKI implementation. See how convenient all of this will be?

But it won't be the attacks that kill this idea. It'll be the crack screens that display the random code. It'll be how credit cards that go through the wash no longer work. Or how keeping the card in your wallet bends it so much that it no longer works.

It's the inconvenience of it all that will kill this idea.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
The overlayfs implementation in the linux kernel did not properly validate with respect to user namespaces the setting of file capabilities on files in an underlying file system. Due to the combination of unprivileged user namespaces along with a patch carried in the Ubuntu kernel to allow unprivile...
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
Shiftfs, an out-of-tree stacking file system included in Ubuntu Linux kernels, did not properly handle faults occurring during copy_from_user() correctly. These could lead to either a double-free situation or memory not being freed at all. An attacker could use this to cause a denial of service (ker...
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
A command injection vulnerability has been reported to affect QTS and QuTS hero. If exploited, this vulnerability allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands in a compromised application. We have already fixed this vulnerability in the following versions: QTS Build 20210202 and later Q...
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-17
An SQL injection vulnerability has been reported to affect QNAP NAS running Multimedia Console or the Media Streaming add-on. If exploited, the vulnerability allows remote attackers to obtain application information. QNAP has already fixed this vulnerability in the following versions of Multimedia C...
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-16
jose-node-esm-runtime is an npm package which provides a number of cryptographic functions. In versions prior to 3.11.4 the AES_CBC_HMAC_SHA2 Algorithm (A128CBC-HS256, A192CBC-HS384, A256CBC-HS512) decryption would always execute both HMAC tag verification and CBC decryption, if either failed `JWEDe...