Thursday, January 08, 2009

Clock Ticking for Gas Stations to Pump Up Data Security

Jaikumar Vijayan writes on ComputerWorld:

Starting Jan. 1, Visa Inc. is requiring all new fuel-dispensing machines being installed at gas stations around the U.S. to support the Triple Data Encryption Standard, a mandate that is designed to make it harder for identity thieves to steal debit card data from gas pumps by shielding the personal identification numbers (PIN) of customers.

So-called card-skimming devices placed on gas pumps have been used to compromise payment card data in the past. For example, in 2005, data at gas stations operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Sam's Club division was compromised.

Visa's new requirement calls on gas retailers to ensure that all new pumps capable of processing debit card purchases are equipped with an encrypting PIN pad, or EPP, that supports Triple DES. Although Visa is the only credit card company mandating the use of the encryption technology now, the requirement is expected to become part of a broader specification for unattended point-of-sale (POS) systems that is being developed by the PCI Security Standards Council, which is responsible for the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and other data-protection measures.

Gas station owners have until July 1, 2010, to ensure that all of their existing pumps are upgraded to support Triple DES. Robert Renke, executive vice president of the Petroleum Equipment Institute in Tulsa, Okla., estimated that about 1.4 million gas pumps would need to be retrofitted with new software — for an average of more than 2,500 per day in order for retailers to meet Visa's deadline.

More here.


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