Obama signs order to tighten card security

U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order to improve security measures for federal credit cards in an effort to lead the way for banks and retailers. The President also called on Congress to enact his Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal.

"The current patchwork of laws governing a company's obligations in the event of a data breach is unsustainable, and helps no one," the White House said in a statement.

The order dictates EMV migration for all government credit cards, and POS terminals at federal facilities will be updated to accept the new cards.

The President applauded several retailers including Home Depot, Target, Walgreens and Walmart for speeding the implementation of EMV cards. He also lauded American Express for its program to assist small businesses in upgrading POS terminals and Visa's program to educate consumers and merchants about card security.

But more needs to be done.

The new BuySecure Initiative is intended to provide consumers with more tools to secure their financial future by assisting victims of identity theft, improving the government's payment security as a customer and a provider, and accelerating the transition to stronger security technologies and the development of next-generation payment security tools.

"EMV chip technology will button down security at the point of sale, however, it is not by itself a silver bullet for data protection," said Stephen Orfei, PCI Security Standards Council general manager. "EMV chip technology does not prevent against malware attacks like the ones we've been reading about in the news, nor does it prevent card not present attacks. No one single technology is the answer."

Data breaches become more of a concern with each passing day. As the industry moves closer to the deadline to implement chip-and-PIN, or EMV, cards, analysts expect hackers to step up efforts in advance of the October 2015 deadline.

"As we head into the holiday shopping season, it is important for American businesses to keep their eye on both their sales and their IT systems," said Orfei. "We encourage businesses to prioritize the strong security principles found in PCI Standards, and maintain a multi-layered security approach that involves people, process and technology working together to protect consumers."

Obama said he hopes Congress will "do its part" and pass cyber security legislation to create a national standard for handling data breaches.

The President will announce the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection later this year to promote partnership and innovation. The Summit will bring together major stakeholders on consumer financial protection issues to discuss how all members of our financial system can work together to further protect American consumers and their financial data, now and in the future.

For more:
-See this White House fact sheet

Related stories:
Walmart banks on mobile payments, chip-and-PIN
Walmart rolling out EMV-enabled MasterCards
Target accelerating $100 million chip and PIN adoption, finds just 25 registers at fault in breach
Will PF Chang's data breach speed EMV?
Apple could add NFC, new payment options

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