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Disability Research Leads to Chip & Pin Shoulder Surfing Fraud Breakthrough

23.05.2006


Research initially aimed at helping partially sighted customers use chip & pin keypads has led to the creation of a device which will protect all customers from "Shoulder Surfing" - A method where a "criminally motivated" bystander can casually observe consumers’ secret PIN when paying for goods or services.



Neil Radford an Enterprise Fellow at the University of Warwick has worked with colleagues in the University of Warwick’s Manufacturing Group to create a special easy to use "cradle" for chip & pin keypads, which innovatively incorporates a magnifying lens. The use of the lens (patent pending) is of significant benefit to visually impaired people, as it enlarges the pin pad display whilst also improving security. The enhanced view, to any user standing directly in front of the key pad, alone is of great benefit by reducing the degree of difficulty and the associated anxiety many face in simply reading the display - from partially sighted people through to the many people who need simply to switch to reading glasses for some tasks - whilst vendors see improved transaction times.

Importantly the device, also provides tremendous additional benefit to customers, vendors and banks in that it has been proven to be a highly effective defence against shoulder surfing, by distorting the view available from any other angle by a casual observer or even CCTV and hidden cameras, thus frustrating shoulder surfers and more sophisticated fraudsters.


Neil Radford has now established a company, Secure Access Solutions Limited, to market the "PED Cradle".

This week Boots will pilot 35 cradles in one its main city centre stores. Secure Access Solutions are also in discussions with the Royal National Institute of the Blind who are giving their expert aasessment. Additional trials will be held with RNIB in June and July. Neil Radford said:

"The PED Cradle delivers that extra layer of security and improved accessibility in one simple easy to use device. We are delighted that 3 years of careful and detailed research & product development has won support and interest from the manufacturers of Chip & Pin terminals, Retailers and Banks. Now we have this wonderful opportunity of an in store trial with Boots."

Clive Barber of Boots Operations said:

"Boots is constantly looking for ways to improve customer accessibility and safety. We believe this device could be of great benefit to our partially sighted customers, aiding their experience of shopping with chip & PIN. We also believe that the additional security provided by the unit may provide a useful benefit to all our customers."

Secure Access Solutions have identified how the same issues affect transactions at ATM Cash points and are already well advanced with a range of complementary products for ATM’s, which are scheduled for further trials later this year with a UK Bank.

Peter Dunn | alfa
Further information:
http://www.warwick.ac.uk

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