Letters to the Editor

PINS ADD EXTRA SECURITY

REGARDING BUREAUCRATUS' ARTICLE "GAO DUCKS SSA INTERNET SECURITY ISSUE" [FCW JUNE 16]: I BELIEVE THE CRITICISM OF SSA'S ALLOWING INDIVIDUALS TO ACCESS WAGE DATA OVER THE INTERNET WAS NOT PRIMARILY AN INTERNET SECURITY ISSUE (I.E. THAT THE DATA COULD BE INTERCEPTED) RATHER IT WAS AN ISSUE RELATED TO AUTHENTICATION. SSA WAS CRITICIZED FOR ALLOWING ANYONE WHO COULD FURNISH SSA WITH FIVE ITEMS OF INFORMATION ABOUT A PERSON (NAME SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH AND MOTHER'S PLACE OF BIRTH) TO OBTAIN WAGE INFORMATION ABOUT THAT PERSON. THE PRIMARY BASIS OF THE CRITICISM WAS THAT SUCH ITEMS OF INFORMATION CAN BE RELATIVELY EASILY OBTAINED INDEED THEY CAN BE OBTAINED FROM VENDORS WHO ADVERTISE ON THE INTERNET ITSELF.

WHAT IF BANKS DID NOT REQUIRE YOU TO USE A PIN NUMBER THAT ONLY YOU KNOW BUT INSTEAD REQUIRED ONLY THAT YOU ENTER THESE FIVE ITEMS OF INFORMATION? HOW SECURE WOULD YOU FEEL ABOUT SUCH A SYSTEM? WITHOUT PINS I DOUBT SERIOUSLY THAT ELECTRONIC BANKING WOULD HAVE ADVANCED TO THE LEVEL IT HAS ATTAINED TODAY IN THE LIFE OF MOST AMERICANS.

LEROY BLOMMAERTCHICAGO

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