&#91EDITORIALS&#93Cash cards and security

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[EDITORIALS]Cash cards and security

The regional cooperatives of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation had to recall 11 million of its cash cards because personal identification numbers were somehow exposed. The federation stressed that there had been no leaks of client information, but they can be criticized for a slow response and for keeping quiet about the situation, which made the problem worse.

The debacle engulfing the federation stems from laziness on the part of a financial institution that has not upgraded its cash card program for the past decade. New and upgraded debit and credit cards have been introduced during that time, offering many functions and better security. The National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, which should have invested in strengthening its security programs, neglected the job and hurt its customers.

Although the use of credit cards has spread, Koreans often ignore their security. Most persons use only one or two different secret numbers when they do all manner of things from buying from a home shopping channel or buying securities to transferring large sums of money.

But financial frauds such as copying credit cards and stealing ID numbers are not rare any more. Sometimes a mobile phone subscriber's detailed personal information is uploaded to a Web site. But our companies did not take such problems seriously; they shrugged them off out of a lack of concern for security.

The National Agricultural Cooperative Federation should make restitution for the damage done to its customers. The problem will hurt the federation's reputation as a financial and banking agency, and it should realize the seriousness of the damage. In addition, the federation should do its best to prevent another incident like this and minimize the inconvenience to its customers as they exchange their cards. And where were the regulators? The government should investigate their sloppiness in allowing matters to reach this state. We understand that cash cards used for financial transactions at post offices, credit savings banks and mutual savings banks are the same outmoded type.

Change all those cards -- now.
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