The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Steve Alexander, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (TNS)

Q: Do the new EMV chip credit cards (named after the developers, Europay, MasterCard and Visa) require a protective cover so that they can’t be scanned by nearby thieves, just as RFID (radio frequency identification) cards do? Do other radio frequency ID cards, such as hotel key cards, pose a risk of identity theft? — Jan Sartee, San Rafael, Calif.

A: There are two types of credit cards using EMV chip technology. One is read by a slot in a point-of-sale terminal; the other is read by holding the card near the sales terminal.

If your EMV card requires physical contact inside a reader, its transactions and account information can’t be scanned remotely by thieves. If it is a contactless card, there’s a chance it could be read by nearby spying equipment, although the credit card industry says that’s unlikely.

Why is it unlikely? Because the contactless card uses an over-the-air technology called near-field communication, or NFC, which is more secure than RFID. NFC card signals are detectable in a range of 2 to 4 inches, while RFID card signals can be detected at up to 25 feet, says the Smart Card Alliance, an industry group. And while RFID cards are designed for minimal security, contactless EMV cards have secure microprocessors and memory and can encrypt (encode) data. (The hotel industry says that for security reasons no personal information about guests is put on RFID room cards.)

But, even if thieves were able to steal financial information from an EMV chip card, either by remotely detecting a contactless card or by infecting a point-of-sale terminal with malicious software, the effect of the theft would be less than it is with magnetic stripe cards.

Why? So far, it isn’t possible to use stolen EMV chip card information to create a fake credit card that could make fraudulent purchases, something that’s easily done with magnetic stripe cards. EMV cards create a special code for each financial transaction, a function that can’t be duplicated by stealing card data, experts say. However, stolen EMC card data could still be used for online sales fraud, because in online use a credit card’s chip isn’t used. In addition, stolen EMV card ID information could still be used to apply for new credit card accounts.

Q: My wife has one of the first iPads, and is having problems because it doesn’t seem to recognize newer software. Is there any single website where the iPad can be updated? — J. Glenn Dockery, Lakeland, Fla.

A: If your wife has an iPad 1, the upgrade possibilities are limited. It can download the Apple operating system, iOS 5.1.1, but that won’t enable it to handle more modern functions such as photography (it has no camera), or use the Siri voice-activated assistant. The iPad 2 and later models can download the latest operating system, iOS 8.4, although some still can’t use Siri. For details on how to upgrade your iPad, see tinyurl.com/paxt64n.

ABOUT THE WRITER
Steve Alexander covers technology for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Readers may write to him at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; email: steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Please include a full name, city and phone number.

(c)2015 Star Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: Ciaran McGuiggan via Flickr

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

President Joe Biden at the Port of Baltimore

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

In mid-October, President Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, joining the nearby Port of Long Beach, which had been doing so since September. The move followed weeks of White House negotiations with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, as well as shippers like UPS and FedEx, and major retailers like Walmart and Target.

Keep reading... Show less

Sean Hannity

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

President Joe Biden spoke to reporters on Monday, saying that the new omicron variant of COVID-19 was “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” and that the public response would be done “not with shutdowns or lockdowns but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing, and more.” Fox News quickly began spreading false claims that Biden was about to impose more lockdowns — in a disinformation campaign that has spread across the network’s purported “straight news” side and even to its financial news channel.

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}