Target Finally Announces Chip-and-PIN System for Credit Cards

Nearly half a year after the Target debacle first broke headlines back in December, the mega-retailer has finally announced that all Target credit cards printed in 2015 will come with two-factor “chip and PIN” security measures, installed to better protect customers who shop at their store using the freshly approved payment method.

Designed to better protect owners of the cyrptographic cards, the move is being undertaken in conjunction with MasterCard, as both companies work to mitigate the massive damage each suffered at the hands of a couple swipe-happy hackers from Russia using malware known as BlackPOS.

The implementation of chip and PIN systems could easily subvert the same tactics employed by those attackers, requiring the physical card itself to be present at the cashier if any transactions are attempted without the PIN entry following closely behind.

This prevents the card from being useful anywhere else, at least in theory, with the chip itself providing a physical, uncrackable key that only binds to the one number it’s associated with and no others.

“Target has long been an advocate for the widespread adoption of chip-and-PIN card technology,” said Target CFO and executive vice president John Mulligan. As we aggressively move forward to bring enhanced technology to Target, we believe it is critical that we provide our REDcard guests with the most secure payment product available. This new initiative satisfies that goal.”

Photo: Flickr

Overseeing this new effort for financial security will be former Department of Homeland security adviser Bob DeRodes, who has just taken up the position of executive vice president with the company, as well as heading up their technology department as their brand new chief information officer.

There is still some speculation in the air about just how secure the cards are and whether or not the key that keeps them safe can be spoofed, but in the long run it’s still refreshing to see a company step up in the wake of a financial disaster, take responsibility for their role in the industry, and perhaps most importantly — spend a chunk of their quarterly profits to prevent it from happening to anyone else in the near future.