Where Robots Dare to Tread

A recent article in  BBC Future, by Paul Marks, highlights a hidden quest to keep us safe.

In an ever changing war against crime, theft, and fraud in the world of payments and payments processing, MasterCard have assigned a dedicated robot as their front line of defence. Repeated swiping of a payment card can reveal a tamper.

“The wooden robot’s aim is to see if a suspect payment card had been tampered with by a hacker group.”

The prediction and prevention of security breaches in the many forms of digital payments systems, is now of paramount importance, after recent breaches.

“In an era when criminals are pillaging our payment and online data seemingly at will – the 56 million payment card details taken in the Home Depot hack, for instance, or the Target attack, in which 40 million were plundered – MasterCard wants to shed light on the constant arms race to both predict and prevent such crime.”

From the old magnetic stripe card to chip-and-PIN and biometric solutions, weaknesses are inevitable.  The hacking of point of sale machines or a “chirping” RFID chip can theoretically be used for theft.  Criminals are putting a lot of energy into thinking outside the box.

“They are distributing the task of reverse engineering across crime teams cooperating on the internet – a crime cloud, of sorts.”

The approach to a solution lies in securing the use of the payment method to the rightful user. The future of this will continue to lie is some form of biometric identification.

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