As if to mark the release of our latest security awareness module on cryptography*, Stephen Murdoch and Ross Anderson of Cambridge University have released a highly critical report into the security of the Veri fed by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode authentication systems. True to one of the central messages in the awareness materials, their main complaints revolve not around the cryptography, per se, but rather the implementation. It seems the banks, credit card companies, merchants and service providers have failed to pay sufficient attention to the poor human beings who use the system. Human factors significantly weaken a design that probably looks great on paper.
* Not so, of course, it was purely a coincidence.