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Credit firms co-operate on encryption

Bill Goodwin

Three credit reference agencies are working on a common encryption standard to protect sensitive customer data.

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are developing a standard based on the widely used Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and Triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES) encrypted algorithms and a minimum of 128-bit key encryption.

Their co-ordinated approach means banks, credit-card companies and mortgage firms that supply data to them will be able to use a single encryption standard to protect data.

The three firms have set up a joint encryption taskforce to keep adopted standards in line with technological developments.

Stuart Pratt, chief executive of the Consumer Data Industry Association, said, "This is an important step for the credit reporting industry. This co-operative effort to simplify, clarify and accelerate the use of industry-level encryption standards is progressive and necessary."

The move follows a number of incidents of credit firms being targeted by fraudsters.


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