01 December2012

The first ever HantsLUG Christmas Lecture was held on Saturday 1 December in the Zepler Building at Southampton University.

The speaker was Mike Bond, of the Computer Laboratory at Cambridge University, where he has been researching security in the banking system for 10 or more years.

He gave us a talk on “Hacking bank cards: 10 years of tools.” – a subject that sounded distinctly illegal to me. In fact the work on computer security done at Cambridge has been an important tool for improving the complex security measures that banks need to use. Although publicly criticising any attempts to break their systems, the banks do in fact cooperate with this type of research because it helps them to develop better ones.

Mike went into a lot of technical detail about how PIN numbers and ATMs work – and how it’s possible in some circumstances to bypass the security entirely.

Although only about ten members were present, the talk was well received and provoked some interesting questions and discussion.

The lecture was followed by dinner at the Mercure Dolphin Hotel in Southampton, where a select group indulged in food and wine and some quality conversation.

Hopefully this was just the first of a new tradition of Christmas Lectures at HantsLUG.

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