Thursday, February 16, 2006

Nifty Theft deterent

Here's an interesting theft deterent mechanism.

When I buy gas at this station with a Visa card, I'm prompted to enter my card's billing zipcode. I suppose if I didn't know this value, I would be unable to use the card. Simple enough. Yet, I can imagine that this one step goes a long way to preventing people using stolen cards here.

Sure, you can get around the system (have name on card, do google search, find address, etc.), but why bother? Why not just try somewhere easier? This, I believe is how The Club works to deter auto theft. It's not that the The Club is unbeatable technology, it's that it raises the threshold just enough to get the criminal to look elsewhere.

I had two thoughts about this while I was filling up my car's tank:

(1) When desinging security facilities, can I learn a lesson from this and design in checks that are easy for the good guys, and sufficiently frustrating for the bad guys?

(2) What the heck kind of neighborhood am I in that the pumps need an extra level of lockdown? Oy.

--Ben

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