25 April 2014

Matt Scott

Matt Scott - Wincor Nixdorf International GmbH

9 | posts 29,706 | views 72 | comments

Flaws in EMV Chip and PIN

11 February 2010  |  4962 views  |  1

This evening I amused myself by watching another group of Cambridge University Students prove security loophole in the EMV Chip & PIN System.

Obviously the BBC heavily edited the clips to try and prevent Joe Public from knowing what exactly is taking place but the setup appeared to involve an Smart Card Reader, a bunch of cable, a laptop and a wired Smart Card.  

The whole process is basically a man-in-the-middle attack and spoofs the genuine card into thinking that the Card Verification Method (CVM) for a given transaction was Chip & Signature but the wired Spoof Card has interacted with a POS as if it were a Chip & PIN Transaction.

What the Cambridge University students neglected to inform joe public:

* Issuer Action Codes (IAC) could be updated via an EMV Script to a whole estate of Cards in Issue to prevent this from occurring (i.e. remove Signature as a CVM for EMV based transactions).

* The Whole Process relies on the fact the Fraudsters have access to an original EMV Card (i.e. they haven't cloned a card) - Cardholders are responsible for reporting a Lost or Stolen Card Immediately - having done this the Card will be Blocked Online - limiting Fraud Exposure to transactions below the offline floor limit (normally after 3 offline transactions a card is forced to authorise online).

* Once a "Blocked" Lost or Stolen Card does go online a Script will be downloaded to Block the EMV Application or the Whole EMV Card, the Magnetic Stripe will also be declined if an attempted transaction goes online.

* The Card Host should respond to online transactions with a Capture Decline - i.e. the Merchant/ATM/Unattended Payment terminal should retain the card.

Rant in e minor over...





Comments: (1)

Steven Murdoch - University of Cambridge - Cambridge | 12 February, 2010, 01:37


The BBC footage couldn't contain much detail, if only due to time constraints. They had to cut down two days of filming into a seven minute package. For further information, I'd refer you to the paper, and FAQ.

I do think that these clearly state the limitations of the attack, including that it only works for stolen cards, and that these can be canceled. However, in practice, it does take customers quite a while to notice, especially if their card has been stolen from home rather than their wallet. This, along with mail non-receipt, was after all the reason that PIN-based cardholder verification was introduced in the first place.

I don't think changing the IAC to require PIN is a feasible solution because some terminals do not have a PIN pad, and merchants consider it desirable to fall back to a signature sometimes. The solution we suggest in the paper is for the issuer to cross-check the card verification results (CVR) against the cardholder verification method results (CVMR). This would prevent the attack while still permitting the terminal to opt for non-PIN transactions if necessary.


Comment on this story (membership required)
Log in to receive notifications when someone posts a comment

Latest posts from Matt

Pace of Change and Innovation

01 October 2013  |  2483 views  |  1  |  Recommends 0 TagsCardsPaymentsGroupBanking Architecture

Have Device Will travel

23 September 2013  |  3434 views  |  2  |  Recommends 2 TagsCardsMobile & onlineGroupInnovation in Financial Services

Mobile Deployment Options 2013

19 March 2013  |  3117 views  |  1  |  Recommends 0 TagsCardsMobile & onlineGroupInnovation in Financial Services

Loyalty is Pointless without Redemption

04 February 2013  |  3265 views  |  0  |  Recommends 0

Ministry of Mis-Information

15 January 2013  |  2277 views  |  1  |  Recommends 0

Matt Scott

job title

Solution Architect

company name

Wincor Nixdorf International GmbH

member since




Summary profile See full profile »
Solution Architect

Matt's expertise

Who is commenting on Matt's posts

Mark McMurtrie
Alexander Peschkoff