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Year End Wrap-Up: Our Favorite Digital Security Moments from 2012

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Happy holidays!  By now you have likely bought the gifts, sent the cards, and decorated the house.  Before we know it, 2013 will be here.  But before we look ahead to the New Year, let’s take a moment to look back over 2012.  And what a year it was!  Looking over our blogs, 2012 was the year of digital security, so I’d like to count down my personal top moments.

6. Higher Levels of Security in Healthcare.  In September, we reported that multi-factor authentication is on the way for the U.S. healthcare system.  I applaud this progress – strong, two-factor authentication with a physical token or smart card is the only way to really be sure that the person who is accessing the data is who they say they are, and are really in front of that computer.

5. The Olympics goes Cashless.  Visa’s attempts at a cashless 2012 Olympic Games were a success, with statistics  showing remarkably high usage of NFC and contactless payments both before and during the Games.  I’ve always said if you put the NFC payment technology in the hands of consumers, they will love it and use it – this Visa experiment proved that.

4. Strong Identities Coming to Cyberspace.  The National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) moved forward, awarding pilots to help create a trusted online identity ecosystem. We’re proud to have Gemalto’s Neville Pattinson play a big role in the initiative, serving on the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group. 

3. Mobile NFC Payments Become Reality with Isis Launch.  Paying with your mobile phone became a reality with the Isis Mobile Wallet launch in October.  With the launch, Isis, the joint venture between AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, is bringing secure NFC mobile payments and services to consumers in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas.

2. Bad Passwords teach us Good Lessons.  In June, LinkedIn suffered a major hack, which resulted in more 6.5 million compromised passwords.  But it may have woken us up to the bigger problem – the inherent weakness of passwords.  The LinkedIn breach taught us a good lesson, that now is the time to move beyond username and passwords to strong, multi-factor authentication.

1. EMV Comes to the United States.  In the first few months of 2012, all of the major payment brands – American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa – announced their roadmaps to move the U.S. payments ecosystem from magnetic stripe technology to EMV chip technology.  This move will make the U.S. payments system interoperable with most of the rest of the world, and infinitely more secure.

Do you have any personal favorite digital security moments from 2012?  Share them in the comments!

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