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Credit Cards

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Smart Card (in)security

While payment cards are the primary means to make Internet payments today, they are intensely mistrusted, and not without reason. The following excerpts were taken from articles on the Internet discussing security:

Your credit card number is captured by a packet sniffer when you buy gloves over the Internet. Two months later, a cracker (a technically proficient "hacker" gone bad) buys $5,000 worth of goods. You get to prove you didn't make the purchase.

Your Social Security Number is stolen by a cracker from your company's computer, from the car dealership where you applied for a car loan, or some other source. So is your birthdate, parents' names, and so forth. All this information is available to skilled crackers, who target you because of your income. An identity thief, using this "confidential" information, obtains credit cards in your name, and then obtains goods and services valued at $75,000 by the time you find out about the problem. You get to clear your credit record, often without help from the authorities.

While payment card companies are claiming their products to be safe for on-line purchases, their track record is far from reassuring. Many people wonder if the long-term additional risk of using their credit card on-line is really worth the extra convenience of e-shopping or the money they might save.

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