In 2006 as a valentine’s day present, the UK put in to effect an initiative called Chip and Pin. What it meant was that you no longer signed for card purchases at the till, rather you entered a four digit code – the same four digit code you enter when withdrawing money from a cash point (ATM). According to the marketing people:
Chip and PIN is the new, more secure way to pay with credit or debit cards in the UK.
What it actually meant is that anyone who gets your PIN can then purchase stuff as you. No longer needing to practice your signature.
Now, here’s the twist. There are places that use Chip and Pin who have number plates that are only digits…Here’s an example:
What does that number plate say? Well it says 35949 and underneath it, Silverline Cars. Ok, so we know this Alfa Romeo came from Silverline Cars. No big deal. However, what if you were to have your number plate personalised or have a four digit number plate? (it’s the “in” thing to have a smaller number as it’s easier to remember)
No problem,again we can see this one came from a place called Doyle Motors Honda…Now, here’s where security comes in to play. Walking down the road the other day I came across the following:
I’ve blurred out part of the number, but the biggest concern is what is below the number. If you click on the photo it gets larger. I’ve blurred it out, but what it is – the person has not only personalised their number plate, but they’ve gone to the extent of telling you who they are…Why the concern? Information is ubiquitous today. Those four digits plus the person’s name gives me loads of information on who they are (and maybe even their pin number), not to mention, there’s probably an online telephone directory (p.s. there is), which now lets me know where that person lives (and yes this person was in the public directory)…
All from their number plate. Next time you think of having something personalised about yourself and you’re going to make it publically available, think what it might say about you or even what information it might just be putting in the wrong hands…