Roger's Security Blog

As Chief Security Advisor of Microsoft EMEA - lets share interesting security information

The “Year-2010” Problem: Failure of ATM cards!

The “Year-2010” Problem: Failure of ATM cards!

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When the industry prepared for the Year 2000, I was working in a consulting company living good from doing reviews on Y2k-projects. Then the year 2000 came and nothing happened (besides a big party).

Then year 2010 came – and the bug actually got hold of us. Initially I thought that I was reading a joke but it seems to be true. The German Sparkassen (a banking brand) had a problem with their ATM cards: The Gemalto chip on the card was unable to process the year correctly and failed to give you money.

I do not know how you handle your daily money consumption but here in Switzerland you are able to pay almost everywhere with your debit (say ATM) card. So, the cash I have with me is very limited and I run into a serious problem if I cannot pay with plastic. Additionally to get to money – you need the card again. And finally I often rely on the fact that I can get local currency in a lot of countries with my debit card.

This really causes some serious troubles and – at the end of the day – affects the critical infrastructure of a country – all of a sudden and without pre-warning.

If you are able to read German, here are two articles about it. Unfortunately I did not find anything in English:


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