24 February 2012

No More Virtual Pickpocketing of Credit Cards, Thanks to New Tap and Pay Technology Developed at the University of Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh

News (02/16/12) B. Rose Huber

University of Pittsburgh researchers have devised a method to thwart credit card thieves and fraudsters with a new card design that lets a card be turned on and off. Pittsburgh professor Marlin Mickle points to the danger of enabling radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and near-field communication (NFC) credit cards to operate any time they are placed in an electromagnetic field, as thieves can use inexpensive portable readers that they can pass near an NFC card to charge purchases to it or steal cash from a bank account. "Our new design integrates an antenna and other electrical circuitry that can be interrupted by a simple switch, like turning off the lights in the home or office," Mickle says. "The RFID or NFC credit card is disabled if left in a pocket or lying on a surface and unreadable by thieves using portable scanners." The technology would let cardholders hold their NFC or RFID card in a specified area, such as on an emblem, when making a transaction. The card is activated as long as the switch is held, but the discontinuation of tactile contact causes the card to automatically deactivate. "This solution is simple and very inexpensive to integrate into the RFID and NFC credit card manufacturing process,"
Mickle notes. http://www.news.pitt.edu/creditcards

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