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Major attacks on retailers cast spotlight on higher-security cards

Antone Gonsalves | Jan. 15, 2014
Attacks on Target, Neiman Marcus, and other major retailers may lead to adoption of "chip-and-pin" cards.

The more advanced cards would not have helped prevent the Target hack, which experts say likely involved a malware called a "RAM scraper." Such malware steals transaction data from the POS terminal's random access memory (RAM), which could also contain the customer information and PIN from a chip-based card.

"The chip card prevents me from taking your card and using it at the store," Ron Gula, chief executive at Tenable Network Security, said.

The cards also make it much more difficult for criminals to make counterfeit cards after they have stolen card data, Miller said.

"They certainly could use the (stolen) information for card-not-present transactions on the Internet or mobile, but it would definitely limit their options at the point of sale," Miller said.


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