Entirely fraud-proof credit cards are possible, according to scientists with the help of physics. A change away from the magnetic strip – which is incredibly simple to duplicate – provides credit card companies with the technology to fully-prevent the question and answer combination from being duplicated. This would be through a type of quantum physics that would allow credit card companies to create quantum-secure authentication – that could be used on credit cards, identification cards, as well as passports.
It uses a strip of nanoparticles, and the scientists contend that this would be the simplest way to prevent hackers from ever being able to break through the security wall that would exist. The nanoparticle strip would seem similar to the magnetic strip, but the magnetic strip poses several traditional security flaws. Essentially, the nanostrip on the card or product that needed to be protected would be shocked with a laser.
The code that would be created would be entirely unique to that particular card and would be impossible to duplicate. Almost taking the snowflake approach to credit cards. No two cards, even for the same person, would share the same qualities, thus creating a line of defense that really is impermeable.
Another comparison that was thrown out there was suggested by the lead author Pepijn Pinkse of the University of Twente. He pointed out that “It would be like dropping 10 bowling balls onto the ground and creating 200 separate impacts. It’s impossible to know precisely what information was sent just by collecting the 10 bowling balls.” Ultimately, this would allow the hackers to only gain access to the material used to create the pattern – and not the pattern itself. The scatter effect that would exist would be impenetrable.
The best part about this discovery is that it’s incredibly easy to replicate throughout the industry, and while it would be slightly more expensive to produce in the way magnetic strips are – it would ultimately save credit card companies, and individuals millions over the course of years. At the end of the day, as alternatives to credit cards are used more frequently, it will be important for those companies to really begin evaluating and executing these alternatives that genuinely protect consumers sensitive information.