Posts Tagged ‘physical’

QoTW #40: What’s the impact of disclosing the front-face of a credit or debit card?

2012-11-23 by roryalsop. 0 comments

” What is the impact of disclosing the front face of a credit card?” and “How does Amazon bill me without the CVC/CVV/CVV2?” are two questions which worry a lot of people, especially those who are aware of the security risks of disclosing information, but who don’t fully understand them.

Rory McCune‘s question was inspired by a number of occasions where someone was called out for disclosing the front of their credit card – and he wondered what the likely impact of disclosing this information could be, as the front of the card gives the card PAN (16-digit number), start date, expiry date and cardholder name. Also for debit cards, the cardholders account number and sort code (that may vary by region).

TC1 asked how Amazon and other individuals can bill you without the CVV (the special number on the back of the card)

atdre‘s answer on that second question states that for Amazon:

The only thing necessary to make a purchase is the card number, whether in number form or magnetic. You don’t even need the expiration date.

Ron Robinson also provides this answer:

Amazon pays a slightly higher rate to accept your payment without the CVV, but the CVV is not strictly required to present a transaction – everybody uses CVV because they get a lower rate if it is present (less risk, less cost).

So there is one rule for the Amazons out there and one rule for the rest of us. Which is good – this reduces the risk to us of card fraud. Certainly for online transactions.

So what about physical transactions – If I have a photo of the front of a credit card and use it to create a fake card, is that enough to commit fraud?

From Polynomial‘s answer:

On most EFTPOS systems, it’s possible to manually enter the card details. When a field is not present, the operator simply presses enter to skip, which is common with cards that don’t carry a start date. On these systems, it is trivial to charge a card without the CVV. When I worked in retail, we would frequently do this when the chip on a card wasn’t working and the CVV had rubbed off. In such cases, all that was needed was the card number and expiry date, with a signature on the receipt for verification.

So if a fraudster could fake a card it could be accepted in retail establishments, especially in countries that don’t yet use Chip and Pin.

Additionally, bushibytes pointed out the social engineering possibilities:

As a somewhat current example, see how Mat Honan got hacked last summer : In his case, Apple only required the last digits for his credit card (which his attacker obtained from Amazon) in order to give up the account. It stands to reason that other vendors may be duped if an attacker were to provide a full credit card number including expiration dates.

In summary, there is a very real risk of not only financial fraud, but also social engineering, from the public disclosure of the front of your credit card. Online, the simplest fraud is through the big players like Amazon, who don’t need the CVV, and in the real world an attacker who can forge a card with just an image of the front of your card is likely to be able to use that card.

So take care of it – don’t divulge the number unless you have to!

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QotW #14: How to secure an environment both physically and technically?

2011-12-16 by ninefingers. 0 comments

So after a slight hiatus we are back running question of the week posts again. This time, chosen by me because we had a tie, is the question asked by user jwegner: How to secure an environment both physically and technically?

An interesting question when you may be working in a scenario processing personal data and cannot afford a data leak. So, as a very quick summary, jwegner had:

  • no local storage
  • used cctv cameras
  • used biometric locks and key-card locks
  • used sftp to transfer data in and out when necessary.

However, jwegner was still concerned about a number of issues including mobile phones, preventing data release when the rules need to be relaxed and the fact that their external gateway ran both an sftp server and an ftp server. responded. Jeff Ferland has the highest voted answer. He recommended not allowing any mobile phone devices inside the secure area at all, as even in offline mode many phones have data ports and cameras and that the internet connection for the “red” zone was a no-go. However, on the subject of achieving no local storage with flash drives, Jeff recommended the opposite, citing loss of the drives as a big potential risk factor. Jeff continued to recommend that monitoring USB ports is a necessary precaution and possibly using epoxy to fill them – however, his answer also mentions that many devices are now highly reliant on the usb interface, including keyboards and mice.

On the ftp gateway area, Jeff recommended looking into access control to ensure internal accounts only had read access, and possibly using ProFTPd as opposed to the standard sftp subsystem. Finally, Jeff added an extra detail – using deep freeze to ensure machine config cannot persist reboot.

Rory Alsop echoed many of these sentiments in his answer. Over and above Jeff, Rory recommended banning mobiles with very strict consequences for their use inside the secure area as a deterrent – as well as enforcing searches on entry/exit. In addition, he recommended not using ftp at all. Rory also echoed Jeff’s deep freeze, recommending read-only file systems. Finally, his answer mentioned two key points:

  • Internal risks of using ftp – may be worth moving over to sftp to ensure internal traffic is harder to sniff.
  • Staff vetting.

From the comments, an interesting point was raised – blocking cellphones is illegal in the US and may be in other jurisdictions, so whilst detection methods could be used for enforcement outright blocking may require an in-depth review of options before proceeding.

So far, these are the only two answers. Our questions of the week aim to highlight potential interesting questions from the community; if you think you can help answer then the link you need is here.