Monday, March 13, 2006

Various News Notes From the Past Week

In no particular order, here are some odds and ends (and my commentary on them) from the Internets.

  • Gas stations are using zip codes to help reduce credit card fraud. The theory is that the customer provides his or her zip code when making a purchase; if it matches the bank records, the customer is good to go. If the zip codes don't match, well, the sale isn't authorized.
This is actually a pretty good idea... if it is implimented properly. The trouble will be getting the oil companies to reprogram their systems to ask for zip codes. Anything that reduces credit/debit card fraud is helpful

  • Cops are starting to recover more hotel key-cards... with customer's bank data encoded in the magnetic stripe. Thieves retrieve the cards after their discarded by hotels (since they're single-use). The bad guys then encode bank data (which they buy or acquire elsewhere) onto the cards. The key-cards are then used in fraudulent sales transactions at places like gas stations (where the clerks don't actually handle the cards).
One more reason to watch your personal information. And maybe to hang onto your hotel key-card. Note that the card, as issued by the hotel, does NOT include any of your personal information. The cards are re-encoded by the criminals.

  • The idiots at DHS gave the town of Dillingham, Alaska (population 2459), $202,000 to buy 80 surveillance cameras. The police chief said the cameras could stop terrorism in southwest Alaska.
That's one camera for every thirty residents. To show what a tempting target Dillingham would be, here's a map showing Dillingham, and its relation to strategic national assets. Would Senator Ted ("Multi-Million Dollar Bridge to Nowhere") Stevens have had anything to do with this?

  • US oil supplies jump to seven-year high, according to a Reuters headline.
Umm, weren't the oil companies citing declining supplies as justification for boosting the prices over $3.00 a gallon recently?

1 comment:

  1. LOL The Alaska camera story is funny. Do they have that many street corners in that town?