APACS: absolutely nothing to worry about

Readers of the newspapers may have seen reports about a group of Cambridge researchers who managed to tamper with a `tamperproof' Chip & PIN terminal sufficiently to play a game of Tetris on it.

Well APACS, the bank payments association, has responded by claiming that, once the terminal has been modified in this way, it cannot communicate with the EFTPOS network.

Critics have pointed out that this minor assertion doesn't stop hackers from modding the insides of the terminal and then allowing it to hook up to the network.

APACS admitted that people could, in theory, use this to steal account details from cards. Our experts are in discussion with the manufacturers of terminals to see what can be done.

"However, we would say that this has only been seen in a laboratory so far. People would not be able to create counterfeit chip and Pin cards, but they could use this information abroad to make purchases," it added in its statement.

Chip & PIN? More like Chip & SPIN!...