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US card industry cracking down on wireless restaurants

It seems that Visa, MasterCard and a number of transaction processors in the US are starting to crack down on the apparently growing number of restaurants and cafes that are not adequately protecting diners' credit card data from thieves.

In recent months, Visa and MasterCard have levied fines against a number of restaurants that are using unencrypted wireless connections to relay the card and PIN details from the table to an in-store computer.

Newswire reports quote Robert Carr, CEO of Heartland Payment Systems, as saying there are tens of thousands of restaurants in the US that are not complying with wireless security safeguards.

The nett result of this, it is claimed, is that restaurants and cafes now represent around 40 per cent of incidents where fraudsters have obtained card details from.

Chicago-based AmbironTrustWave, meanwhile, which conducts security audits for merchants, says 62 per cent of the breaches it has seen over the past 18 months came from the restaurant industry.

Visa says that it fined its US merchants $4.6 million for security violations during 2006, up from $3.4 million in 2005.

Visa says it is particularly concerned about those restaurants that use specialised software to tabulate bills, relay orders to the kitchen and track reservations...