Apparently credit card numbers are linked to the expiration date MM/YY so that you can run an algorithm with just these two pieces of information offline and tell if the CC is valid or not.
Although a convenient feature, this design can be....i mean actually is being exploited.
Apparently, some Japanese hackers found out how to derive the full credit card number from just having the last four digits of the CC# and the expiration date.
Now... I wonder where they could the last four digits and exp. date from??
Oh yea! My monthly credit card statement has that information along with my address!!
So yes, apparently, bad guys are actively stealing people's monthly bills, calculating the full CC#, and using that for fraud.
By the way, most postal boxes in Japan are pretty easy to steal from and even if they have locks (most of the fancier apartments do), you can still stick your fingers in and take out all of the mail... so yea, the lock is more for show than anything practical.
You may want to read this if you are a foreigner living in Japan. If not, read if you are bored...
The Diet passed bills Wednesday that tighten controls on foreign residents, paving the way for them to take effect within three years, despite opposition from foreigners and human rights activists....
The bills, which cleared an Upper House plenary session, will abolish the Alien Registration Act and revise immigration control and resident registration laws.
The revision will shift authority to manage foreign residents from municipalities to the Immigration Bureau and enable it to consolidate the personal information of foreign residents, including name, address, type of visa and expiration date, making it easier for the bureau to detect illegal residents.
"Currently, it is difficult to fully grasp where foreign residents live, so we need to change that," LDP lawmaker Ryuji Matsumura, a board member of the Upper House Judicial Affairs Committee, said after the chamber passed the bills. "In other countries, including the U.S., France, Britain, Germany and South Korea, governments keep such personal information on foreign residents."
Rights activists condemned the bills for excessively tightening controls on foreigners.
"We will keep fighting against the enforcement of the bills in municipalities, the Diet and the United Nations, seeking cooperation from nongovernmental organizations in Japan and the world," said Nobuyuki Sato, representative of Research-Action Institute for the Koreans in Japan, which wants the bills abolished.
Currently, municipalities issue alien registration cards to foreigners overstaying their visas even though they are aware of the illegal status. By registering them, the municipalities can send them notices of various public services, including public school enrollment and medical services for children and pregnant women.
The Immigration Bureau and lawmakers worked out the bills to reduce the number of undocumented foreign residents, which the bureau estimates total about 110,000.
Human rights activists, including Akira Hatate, director of the nongovernmental organization Japan Civil Liberties Union, said that instead of focusing on reducing the number of illegal residents, the government should treat overstayers as members of society that can help the country prosper.
The United States has an estimated 13 million illegal aliens, he noted, citing information from the American Civil Liberties Union. The Europen Union is thought to have had about 8 million in recent years, Hatate added.
"In the U.S. and Europe, it is natural to have a certain number of overstaying foreigners," he said. "Japan is extremely strict.".....
The bills will extend the normal duration of visas from the current three years to five. Also, foreigners will no longer be required to obtain a re-entry permit if they return to Japan within a year of leaving the country.
On the other hand, punishments for failing to report address and other personal information will become harsher. To prevent fake marriages, the bills grant the justice minister the power to cancel a spouse visa from those who have failed to conduct for six months without a legitimate reason "activities spouses normally do."
I wonder what they mean by "activities spouses normally do", and how exactly are they going to check?
Porn Downloads Strain Japan Phone Network
"Takeshi says he pays 6,300 yen ($66) a month to NTT DoCoMo Inc. for unlimited Internet access, allowing him to download adult movies on his mobile phone.
“A mobile is far handier than a computer for Internet access -- I seldom use a PC outside the office,” said Tokyo travel agent Takeshi, 32, who declined to give his surname.
Takeshi and other pornography fans are feeding a surge in demand for movie downloads in Japan, home to the world’s first third-generation wireless network. While profiting from the traffic, Tokyo-based mobile carriers DoCoMo and KDDI Corp. say they’ve been forced to impose limits on the heaviest users as the $74 billion network feels the strain...."
The prefecture is apparently slightly worried for being sued for infringing on its citizens' rights.
For the average Japanese person, one of the main security related issues he/she deals with is whether or not to let his/her son/daughter have a cell phone.
This is a big issue in schools all throughout Japan and there have been many schools banning students from using cell phones. This is due to all of the problems that have arisen from them. The main one being cyber bulling. Others include looking at porn, visiting shady forums, calling dating service chatlines, etc...
If you don't believe me, you can check out this demo video here. (There is even an explanation of how it works... just in very difficult Japanese. =) )
I figure if people are figuring out how to read brainwaves with machines, it is only a matter of time before they are able to start reading thoughts... even extract passwords, perhaps?
Probably not in my lifetime, but I would be surprised if that technology wasn't created sometime in the *relative* future...
"Impossible! There's too much complexity!" you say?
Well, I am sure if you told people 1000 years ago that there would be machines that could fly people across the globe and even to the moon, they would have probably said the same exact thing...