Tags: Barack Obama | credit | card | declined | hacked

Card Decline Leads to Speculation That Obama Was Hacked

By    |   Friday, 17 October 2014 07:04 PM

Did President Barack Obama's credit card get hacked?

J.P. Morgan and the White House aren't saying, but the question of whether Obama's card was one of the 76 million cards compromised in a massive hack attack on J.P. Morgan received fresh impetus when Obama revealed that his own personal credit card was declined last month at a New York restaurant.

Obama, Yahoo Finance noted, does have a J.P. Morgan card.

The president revealed his embarrassing experience while signing a new order mandating that federal agencies handing out benefits in pre-paid credit cards switch to chip-embedded cards instead of easily counterfeited magnetic strip cards as a measure to combat credit card fraud, the Washington Times reports.

"Apparently they thought here was some fraud going on," Obama joked at a meeting of the Consumer Financial Protection Board, where he outlined federal plans to combat computer hacking crime.

"Turns out I guess I don't use it enough," Obama laughed. "Fortunately, Michelle had hers."

The federal government will switch to a chip-and-PIN card method, called an EMV card, a procedure used in Europe for over a decade but avoided in the U.S. because of bank and retailer concerns over the huge costs the switchover would entail.

However, Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Home Depot, hit by hacker attacks, already have pledged to have the new system up and rolling by the end of next year, and the federal program will start sometime next year, the Washington Post reported.

"Last year, millions of Americans became victims of identity theft. These crimes don't just cost companies and consumers billions of dollars every year, they also threaten the economic security of middle-class Americans," Obama said.

He called on Congress to pass "one, clear national standard" data breach law to replace state laws which vary and urged the private sector to switch over to the newer, more secure system.

Yahoo Finance reports that the dinner at which Obama's credit card was declined may have been at Estela restaurant on Sept. 24 while he was attending an annual meeting of the United Nations, but this has not been confirmed.

Banks and retailers are being pushed hard to switch to the new system by credit card companies which, as of October, 2015, will no longer take responsibility for fraudulent charges on credit cards.

Stephen Orfei, general manager of PCI Security Standards, said that the new card will protect consumers making purchases at checkout machines, but not with online purchases.

"You need different layers designed to take on different attack vectors," he told the Washington Post. "My concern is that there's a mindset that we put this in and we're good to go."

Credit card fraud is a huge business, according to Wired — about $11 billion a year, and largely operated out of Eastern Europe, where hackers sell information gleaned by breaking into retail and bank operations to crooks who crank out fake credit cards and use them to attack bank accounts or purchase merchandise.

Obama announced there will be a Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection summit held in Washington soon, to discuss how to deal further with credit card fraud.

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Did President Barack Obama's credit card get hacked?
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Friday, 17 October 2014 07:04 PM
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