Target data theft highlights backwards US transaction security

The massive data breach disclosed by retailer Target Corp last week is likely to teach its U.S. customers a painful lesson in payment card security and build support for an anti-fraud technology now sitting on the shelf.

For years, U.S. merchants and banks have balked at adopting a well-established system that uses credit and debit cards that store information on computer chips. The technology, ubiquitous in Europe, Canada and elsewhere, makes it harder for thieves to misuse data compared with cards that store data only on magnetic stripes.

The stores and credit card issuers don’t want to spend the money needed for a secure change.

The delay may prove costly to Target’s U.S. customers. The third-largest U.S. retailer said unknown hackers stole data from up to 40 million credit and debit cards used at its stores in the first three weeks of the holiday season.

Now, after years in which U.S. companies tolerated fraud as a cost of doing business, high-profile breaches such as the one at Target are raising demand for increased card security…

An early switch to the global card system may not have prevented the Target data theft but the chip technology would have reduced the value of the stolen data by making it harder for hackers to reuse the customer information. For one thing, the new systems are better at detecting counterfeit cards…

In much of Europe, 94 percent of sales terminals use the chip system, according to a 2012 report by consulting firm Javelin Strategy & Research. The figure was 77 percent in Canada and Latin America. That compares with only 10 percent of U.S. sales terminals with upgrades…

Consumers, who are generally not held responsible for covering for fraudulent purchases, have had little incentive to push for change. But the rising fraud rates also mean more dangers of identity theft.

You might think banks and credit card companies would have realized by now the additional risks offered by increasing identity theft. The concept of educated self-interest apparently has as little effect on the managers of big banking systems as it does the average American voter. 🙂

Texas court must decide if RFID school ID card requires submission to the Antichrist


A Texas man told a federal court his daughter should be exempted from carrying a high-tech school ID card because it amounted to submission to the Antichrist.

Andrea Hernandez, 15, and her father, Steven Hernandez, are challenging the ID requirement because they saw the Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, tracking chip in the ID badge as a “mark of the beast” that would jeopardize her salvation in the event of the biblical end of the world.

The San Antonio Express-News said Steven Hernandez teared up while reading from the Bible on the witness stand. He added supporting the RFID project “would compromise our salvation for NISD (Northside Independent School District) to make some money.”

District officials said they implemented the RFID system as a way to more efficiently monitor attendance and even locate specific students on campus. Superintendent Brian Woods said in court federal funding for school districts is based on daily attendance, which makes accurate head counts important.

The district said it had offered to remove the RFID chip from Andrea’s badge and ordered her transferred from John Jay High School to her neighborhood high school when she declined the offer. Andrea testified she wanted to remain at Jay because it offered specific classes that would help her with her aspirations for a career in Web design.

Look forward to the designs this young lass will come up with – if she sticks to the path ordained by her father’s religion? Like Twitter-based sites balancing the sum of sins and verities in an equation deciding if you fit through the Pearly Gates. Perhaps, the proper use of an RFID chip – located appropriately to let your father know if you’ve slid into the depths of non-virginity.

Implanting A Microchip

THE PATRIOT MICRO CHIP is intended to be implanted in terrorists.

The implant is specifically designed to be installed in the forehead.

When properly installed it will allow the implantee to speak to God.

It comes in various sizes:


The exact size of the implant will be selected by a well-trained and highly-skilled technician.

The implant may or may not be painless.

Side effects, like headaches and nausea, are temporary.

Some bleeding or swelling may occur at the injection site.

Please enjoy the security we provide for you.

Best regards,


FOOTNOTE: Some of you who know of my opposition to the war in Iraq may be taken aback by this post. And that I support our effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan against al Qaeda and the Taliban. You should know that I’m neither a pacifist nor do I oppose all war, a rote response.

I grew up within the boundaries of World War 2. My family and my best friend fought as soldiers and guerillas against Fascism in many of the theatres of that war – and in the hills of Italy. I have always supported the just cause of wars of national liberation against colonial armies – against all the Western nations who took false pride in their control of foreign lands.

I respect the comradeship of arms. Some portion of that – from the time of Sun Tzu to the Marine Corp which turned away from official American racism – stands outside the dirty little world of politics. In that sense, I posted this from Hop.

If you’ve ever been a grunt you appreciate the humor.

– Eideard

Apple hires ATI/Nintendo/AMD graphics chip designer

Apple has scooped up a chip designer who spent years mapping out key graphics chip architectures at ATI and who also played an integral role in the development of the graphics processor found at the heart of Nintendo’s Game Cube console.

The LinkedIn profile of Bob Drebin indicates the former AMD graphics chief recently accepted a Senior Director position at Apple following a one-year void in his professional career. Although his precise role at the electronics maker is unknown, Drebin is likely to deliver knowledge and experience central to the company’s Mac and iPhone strategy.

Prior to joining Apple, Drebin was chief technology officer of the Graphics Products Group within AMD , where he oversaw the technical strategy and direction for the chipmaker’s graphics-related businesses. He assumed the role in 2006, following AMD’s acquisition of ATI, where he was also a director of chip design and strategy.

Earlier in his career, Drebin managed the architecture and design unit of ArtX, which was instrumental in development of the graphics component for the Nintendo Game Cube. He also spent nine years developing high-performance graphics systems for Silicon Graphic.

We’ve already seen how quickly the iPod Touch has moved into a gamer’s choice – especially for a gamer who wants a larger media life to carry around. This is the focus of most commentary an this hire. I think there’s another aspect.

The Nintendo Game Cube like any console was aimed at an audience using a TV set – not a computer monitor. There are tricks and tweaks that better suit that HDTV in your living room that don’t have to be limited to gaming. The myth or rumor of an Apple TV Set comes to mind.

Intel to invest $7 billion in the heart of the recession

Intel, the world’s largest processor maker, is vowing to spend more money than ever before on new manufacturing technology despite a sharp downturn in its profits.

Indeed, the company is holding itself up as a model for others in the United States to follow by increasing capital spending during a deep economic slump. Paul Otellini, Intel’s chief executive, detailed how his company would spend $7 billion over the next two years on its chip plants.

Intel…has already said it would continue pouring money into a series of chip plants, which can cost more than $1 billion each. It made that announcement shortly after saying sales of the company’s chips had tumbled 23 percent, while its net income fell by 90 percent. Intel also began laying off at least 5,000 workers and closing down older chip plants in Asia and the United States.

But Otellini struck an optimistic note. “We’re investing in America to keep Intel and our nation at the forefront of innovation,” he said in a statement provided ahead of the speech. “These manufacturing facilities will produce the most advanced computing technology in the world.”

Over $2 billion is being spent here in New Mexico on upgrading their Fab in Rio Rancho to produce 32nm chips. That’s over 1500 high-paying technical construction jobs carrying through the heart of this recession.

Chip yourself! Satellites track you after you’re kidnapped in Mexico…

Wealthy Mexicans, terrified of soaring kidnapping rates, are spending thousands of dollars to implant tiny transmitters under their skin so satellites can help find them tied up in a safe house or stuffed in the trunk of a car.

Kidnapping jumped almost 40 percent between 2004 and 2007 in Mexico according to official statistics. Mexico ranks with conflict zones like Iraq and Colombia as among the worst countries for abductions.

The Xega company injects the crystal-encased chip, the size and shape of a grain of rice, into clients’ bodies with a syringe. A transmitter then sends signals via satellite to pinpoint the location of a person in distress.

The chips cost $4,000 plus an annual fee of $2,200

Xega sees kidnapping as a growth industry and is planning to expand its services next year to Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

We’ve discussed chipping before as likely under more and more repressive governments in the U.S. and elsewhere. This offers an entirely different scenario.

I can see people getting chipped as a status symbol. In fact, there will eventually be people who just stab themselves in the arm with an icepick to make a wee scar that they can say was the result of chipping. 🙂