Blake Dowling, Author at Florida Politics - Page 6 of 7

Blake Dowling

Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at or at

Blake Dowling: Apple vs. FBI and the bounties for ‘bug hunters’

This battle between Apple and the FBI is one of the most controversial technology stories of the year.

The FBI, while trying to get into the phone of the two San Bernardino terrorists, took Apple to court. The agency demanded that Apple help the agency get data off the locked phone and then said “never mind.”

Apple then asked, why the “never mind”?

The FBI hired its own hackers and one or more of them were able to get the data off the iPhone, according to the Washington Post.

There were rumors that the Israeli tech firm Cellebrite was brought in to assist, but that does not seem to be the case.

Have you heard of the Bug Bounty program and bug hunters in general? Started in 1996, the program was the idea of a Netscape employee who recognized the work being done outside of the company on their products.

He pitched an idea to management about how to incentivize these outsiders and make their findings more widely available. His bosses loved the idea and the program was off and running.

The same system is in place for other firms today. Hackers and tech specialists around the world are paid to find bugs in systems. This way, the flaws can be fixed before they reach the public.

Facebook had a program where it actually issued debit cards to researchers who found bugs. Facebook is not alone. Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft all have their own bug programs and they are certainly not limited to the United States.

Russia has the most bug hunters, followed by India and then the U.S., Brazil and the UK. Payments for discovering a bug can reach up to $20,000.

So you can see why people jump into this sort of thing. Where does this leave law enforcement, tech companies and little ole me (the consumer)?

Who knows. FBI Director James Comey said this case was the hardest problem in his career. The issues with encryption and privacy cannot be magically solved in our courts.

The shelf life of the vulnerability that was found in the terrorists’ iPhone 5C seems to be very short, so Apple is not worried about pursuing the case any further.

Just wait until Hollywood gets a hold of this. You know there is a studio exec pitching this story now: “OK, super-nerd bounty hunter works with the FBI to crack the case…..”


Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Blake Dowling: Be careful of new computer viruses that target businesses

Ransomware has been a scourge since it first reared its head a few years back.

The original Cyptolocker virus continues to cause problems worldwide and has been doing so since 2013. The original version would work like this: you receive a fake email pretending to be from UPS etc. and you click the link.

BAM. First the files on your PC are infected and if you do not unplug the device, it spreads to anything connected to it. The virus still gives you access to Windows but no files, and the frightening looking clock begins its countdown to show you how long you have until your files are deleted.

There is a new version called Petya Ransomware in which a computer’s hard drive is infected. This threat is rampaging across Europe.

The new version is disguised as a Drop Box file ready for you to download. It lists an applicant applying for a job and a link from which you click to download the applicant’s resume.

The criminals do not just send this to anyone. They are not just targeting generic lists of email addresses. They are purchasing corporate email lists from the dark web or trolling for their own.

In this case they are sending to HR professionals. What is the likelihood of an HR pro whose job it is to screen applicants for potential openings clicking on a link to a resume? I would say 25 percent. Those are awesome stats for the criminal as a return rate or click rate on old school hacks was in the 1 to 2 percent range (think back to “I am a Prince in the Congo that needs your help to prepare 10 million USD for transfer).

The appearance of legitimacy is what keeps these people in business. They keep finding better ways to appear like they are the entity in question, going so far as to create domains and email addresses that are only one or two letters different from the original.

If they can pass the casual eye test for a few seconds, someone will click on it. That is why Ransomware has become one of the most prevalent online threats.

There are some other interesting variations to the Ransomware scourge that are just coming to light.

MAC users have always thought themselves impervious to such threats. Those days are over.

MACs are by far safer, but the main reason for that is they are not targeted as much because most of the corporate world is Windows based.

As more and more MACs are introduced, the hackers are along for the ride. KeRanger is a crypto attack that targets the MAC OS. Cerber is a crypto variant that takes geography into account. If you reside in Russia, it will not execute as it detects your location.

The creators of the original virus are from Russia and allegedly hiding out in Ukraine.

My advice is to never pay these ransoms but a lot of people do, with mixed results. They say the average ransom request is about $300 (it is actually paid in Bitcoin which is harder to track), and once you pay the ransom you are either sent a decryption key and you can go on your merry way. In some cases, your money is simply stolen.
Be careful where you click, as you could bring on a world of hurt to your business in an instant.


Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology column is published monthly on Wednesday. Contact him at or at Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Blake Dowling: Apple vs. FBI: battle is over, but I doubt the war is

The United States Justice Department says it has closed its case against Apple for refusing to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooters.

I wrote a column earlier in the month about the repercussions and legal precedent that would be established if Apple complied with the request. Most citizens were perplexed that these two giants could not work outside the courts to settle this issue.

Now that the FBI has supposedly broken into the phone, the agency is not telling Apple how agents did it. There is an arrogance on both sides that needs to be dropped.

This will not be the last time law enforcement and the private sector are asked to play nice with one another. For example there are more than a dozen phones that the Justice Department is trying to get into under the All Writs Act.

So as the title states, this battle may be over, but the war is from from done. The All Writs Act is from 1789, so when George Washington himself signed this act, he certainly didn’t imagined a world where there would be a device that could access all the collective knowledge of mankind via the Internet.

I suppose that is why we have so many lawyers so that we can accurately “reinterpret” what the Founding Fathers meant and apply their wisdom to the modern world. Apple has refused to comply from the start. The company’s official statement goes something like this:

“From the beginning, we objected to the FBI’s demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government’s dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought. We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated.”

There must be a new level of cooperation because technology is not going to get any less complex. In fact, new encryption methods to try to satisfy our need for privacy are popping up everywhere. That is why so many flock to the dark web as they are looking for anonymity online.

This case was about our civil liberties and our privacy online and in the digital world. Our nation is under attack by hackers in Iran, China and elsewhere

I predict a new army of “white hat” hackers will be hired by the government and private sector in the coming years as we try to find a way to work together and not let tech get in the way.

We need tech to be part of the solution, not the problem.


Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology column is published monthly on Wednesday. Contact him at or at Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Blake Dowling: FBI, Apple in battle over confidentiality of iPhone data

Law enforcement investigators are eager to see what information is on the iPhone5c that terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook used for his work at the San Bernardino, Calif. Health Department.

Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and injured 22 others in December in San Bernardino. They attacked during a Health Department holiday party. Farook worked as a health inspector for the department and was provided the phone for his work. Police killed both Farook and Malik within hours of the attack.

The FBI has been attempting to hack into the phone to determine if anyone else was involved in the terror plot. The courts have ordered Apple to help the FBI get access to the phone’s content by disabling its encryption software. Apple has refused to comply.

Apple executives say they don’t have the software to bypass the encryption. They acknowledge they could create it, but they contend that disabling the killer’s encryption would mean that law enforcement would have access to the information that is on every iPhone owner’s device. In that case, they say, the encryption is meaningless to the people who buy their products.

There are other tech giants taking a careful look at this case because it could establish a significant legal precedent.

Companies like Snapchat are looking at tightening their security so their clients’ data is not at risk. So if app makers tighten their security, investigators who could bypass the encryption still would not be able to get access to information kept on apps.

Apple officials say they have no problem handing over cloud data and anything stored in their files. However, they do not want to write new software to get into their devices.

If they do that, millions of their customers will be exposed, they say. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, says the FBI’s request is asking them to make the “software equivalent of cancer.”

Once the government began pressing Apple to unlock the iPhone, Apple’s R&D department went to work on what insiders are calling the “unhackable” phone.

It is unclear how this phone would differ from the current models, but it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

I believe that the FBI could have hacked into the phone using traditional hacking means. They could have gotten around the security barrier of entering the wrong security code 10 times, and causing the phone to delete everything on it.

But it would appear that they wanted to take the fight public to set the precedent that they can force tech companies to help them with their investigations.

I see where the FBI is coming from. If getting into this phone would possibly stop a future attack and lead to the arrest of other potential terrorists, I am all for it.

But, would this action lead to thousands or millions of future data breaches? Hopefully both parties will find some common ground where the FBI can do its job and Apple can provide its customers with products that protect their information. We shall see.


Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology column is published by several organizations. Contact him at or at Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Blake Dowling: Get ready for flexible phones, driverless cars

This year is rolling along like a can of Pringles in my house (one can survives about an hour). They are the Super Chip. Munchos are also outrageously awesome.

However, my friends, this is not a column about chips; it’s about the future. What is next for technology? The Cloud is here, artificial intelligence is here, 3D printing is here, and many other new faces of tech are becoming mainstream.

What’s Next is a big conversation. Let’s start with Mark Zuckerberg and see what he has in store.

Mark has always big a big proponent of bringing Internet connectivity to places that don’t have the access that most Americans do. The initiative by Zuckerberg and his colleagues is called and the basic package is available now in 38 countries, giving 19 million users access to the Internet.

To expand this initiative, the Facebook team is working on deploying solar-powered drone aircraft that will beam Internet service via laser to regions where land-based infrastructure is not a viable option. This is visionary work, and I hope they succeed.

There are several barriers that must be navigated, but FB has the resources and the commitment to work miracles. So we will see.

Smartphone manufacturers are spending lots of R&D money on flex tech – phones and tablets that can bend or roll up like a scroll. As my friend Shawn just said, “Why don’t they make phones that work better, and focus on that.”  Well, they aren’t.

There are also flexible phones now available that offer plastic screens and have a more contoured look that should reduce glare and fit your face better while holding it up for a call. These phones do not bend. Do not get “flex” and “flexible” confused.

The main benefit here with the flexible is that the phones are plastic, so feel free to drop it and not have to run to the corner store that specializes in screen repair. (There is one on every corner, but not for long, since here comes plastic).

I walked out of the office with a friend recently. When we got near his car, it started coming toward us. He explained about the feature (summons) that sends his Tesla Auto to him. Pretty sweet ride.

The summons function is a nice example of where the automobile industry is heading. That’s right campers, driverless cars. So much for new outfits like Uber coming to pick you up. Jump in and roll, do your workout routine in the car, have some beers, play the Operation board game with your kids.

It’s very interesting to imagine the possibilities. The shift has been compared to the shift from brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, said that in two years you can summon your car from across the country.

The Obama administration has proposed spending $4 billion over the next 10 years to research autonomous vehicles and build the infrastructure to support them.

The Internet, phones and cars are some of our favorite things and they are changing faster than Lady Gaga changes outfits. Disruption is here – now. Buckle up.

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Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology column is published by several organizations. Contact him at or at Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Blake Dowling: Stay vigilant, hackers aim to crack your computers

As we navigate the world of technology as professionals, we must remember that cyber threats are around every corner. The threats are real, and at the heart of these threats are the hackers themselves.

What motivates someone to become a “hacker”? Money usually, but other hackers are out there as modern-day Robin Hoods trying to expose some great “injustice,” such as what motivates the hacking group Anonymous. They have supported the Occupy movement in the past few years by showing police brutality toward protesters and they have gone so far as targeting ISIS, disrupting its recruiting through social media outlets.

The first use of the word hackers goes back to the 1960s on the campus of MIT. Those individuals mainly focused on computer programming and were not yet in the devious column.

However, by the 1970s that had changed. A hacker with the handle “Captain Crunch” figured out how to make free long-distance calls and from that point on, the term hacker carried the stigma of a sinister computer crook. During the 1980s the “414s” were a notorious hacking group that became one the first to be raided by the FBI and charged for computer related crimes.

The most common hacks in today’s corporate world are social engineering (phishing emails), compromised accounts (weak passwords), web-based attacks (SQL injection), and exploiting server updates (heartbleed).

Most entities have robust password protocols to assist with security as well as an enterprise-level firewall to keep bad guys out of the network. But all the technology in the world can’t stop a hacker who finds a sucker.

For example a common fraud of the moment is a hacker calling an office, then telling them that they are from Microsoft and they must run a critical update so let them log into the computer. I had a client say “OK” and guess what happened?

All of their data was stolen.

And guess again. Microsoft doesn’t call anyone to fix anything. It’s hard enough to get them to fix something by trying to call them. If you think a call might be suspect, it usually is. As Fox Mulder liked to say on the “X-Files”: Trust no one.

Lastly, I will reference white-hat hackers. These brilliant folks have seen the light and are actually hired by the government and corporate America to try to hack into systems and identify vulnerabilities so they can be corrected. That would be the opposite of black-hat hackers whose intent is to wreak cyber havoc.

As you head into 2016, keep the thought of hackers on the top of your mind because the the cyber threats and hacking will get worse before it gets better.

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Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology column is published by several organizations. Contact him at or at Column courtesy of Context Florida.

Blake Dowling: You need to protect your credit cards from ‘crowd hacking’

As Floridians and citizens of the increasingly connected digital world, we must stay on DEFCON4 (see the 1983 movie WarGames for meaning) at all times for the next threat.

Phishing emails, data breaches, credit card skimmers at the gas pump, bot nets, and identity theft are in the news weekly, but how about crowd hacking (also called digital skimming)?

It’s the worst of the bunch and unless you’ve been a victim, you probably wouldn’t even know about. It’s very difficult to catch someone in the act, and the credit card companies certainly do not want anyone talking about it. For example I found this statement in an article from a Mobile, Alabama Fox TV station.

MasterCard spokesman, Chris Kangas, issued this statement:

“Sniffing, replay and relay attacks have been reported by the media and others as threats to contactless payments.  Cardholders can rest assured that MasterCard has and continues to invest significantly to ensure the security of the payment system including for MasterCard contactless technology.  As a consequence of these investments, the various attack scenarios which are difficult for criminals to conduct, make this an unattractive means of committing fraud.  Accordingly, in the 10 years since contactless was launched, MasterCard is not aware of any fraud incidents using these techniques.”

If you reached the second paragraph, you obviously have not heard of crowd hacking. So off to the classroom we go.

Let’s start with the criminal. He goes on eBay and purchases a RFID card reader for $50, hits the dark web to order a stack of blank credit cards and lastly picks up a card magnetizing device for about $300. Then he’s ready to have his own digital criminal syndicate. Next he heads to a ball game or mall and turns on the reader and credit card numbers are wirelessly stolen. Dozens at a time.

As a nation, we are trying to combat counterfeit card use by using “chip and pin” technology so that even if a number is stolen it cannot be used. However, that technology covers only part of the problem. By going online or using a credit card over the phone, the hacker can circumvent those security measures as the RFID scanners can pick up expiration dates as well as the CVV number on the back.

There are products that can protect you from this. I have a card in my wallet made by signal vault that creates white noise to any RFID card reader in the vicinity. In essence, it blocks any attempted theft.

If you want something more advanced, there is a product called Guard Bunny that goes in your wallet and it actually makes a whining nose and lights up if you are targeted. I would encourage you to invest in one of these security tools. For the ladies, there is a RFID blocking purse called Clutch that can protect you.

Despite what the experts at the credit card companies say, this is real and you need to protect yourself because someone is out there right now planning his next digital heist.


Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at or at www.aegisbiztech.comColumn courtesy of Context Florida.

Blake Dowling: Bahamian government needs to protect Bimini from developers

As Floridians we have so much beauty right outside our door.

As I write this, I am 45 miles from the coast and could be at Angelos Restaurant on the water (Panacea, Florida) for happy hour if I jumped in the car now.

Just 50 miles from Miami is the closest Bahamian Island, Bimini. It is a top-10 destination for me and has been for 20 years. Bimini consists of three islands, and it is paradise worth visiting.

The main island is seven miles long, features three settlements — Alice Town, Bailey Town and Porgy Bay.

The history of the island is straight outta Miami Vice, speedboats at dawn shipping powdered goods to the mainland in the 80s, and going back to prohibition a nice safe place to get a glass of rum when it was unavailable stateside.

Back in 1996 I made my first of many visits to the island, and as I stepped off the seaplane into my friend Trimmer’s back yard, I was down with it.

Local color, island charm, amazing views, laid-back lifestyle, the island had every travel writer’s adjective taken care of. Time crawled on the island. I was looking a little hurried one day as I strolled into the Big Game Club and the waitress laughed loudly and told me to “take a break” in a heavy Bahamian accented suggestion (while handing me a Kalik).

You might find yourself barefoot in the End of the World Sand Bar playing Dominoes or down the street at the Complete Angler playing the ring game with a Rum Runner in hand and the only band on the island, “The Calypsonians” rocking out.

When the majority of my college friends began receiving their degrees, they headed off to Atlanta, Chicago and similar cities in search of a high-paying gig. Trimmer went the other way. He sold his truck and set up shop on the island renting and leading kayak tours through the beautiful ecosystems surrounding the island.

I was lucky enough to join him, his brothers and parents on the island over a dozen times over the years. They maintain a second home there.

The visits included epic spring breaks all the way up to weddings just a few years ago. I was prepared to write a piece on how technology helped shape the island in some way, but my early research points to, what in my opinion constitutes, gross abuse of the island by the central government and certain foreign corporations.

Plans were drawn up by a developer for a resort on the end of North Bimini island called Bimini Bay. When complete it was to accommodate 10,000 people on an island whose total population numbers only 2,000.

Land was cleared, mangroves uprooted, seabed was dredged in a section that had been previously deemed “preserve”.

The name was changed to Resorts World Bimini (“RWB”). Against the advice of locals and environmental impact assessments and with the full support of the government in Nassau, RWB dredged a significant area of seabed and built a 1,000 foot pier to service a cruise ship that was supposed to ferry thousands of tourists each day from Miami.

I have been informed by certain locals that promises were made to the local community about economic growth, and that concerns for Mother Nature were ignored. Two years later, the daily ship service has been abandoned.

One of the main draws to Bimini is its ecosystem, which provides lobster, conch, mangroves, reefs and fishing. Swim with dolphins, kayak through the mangroves, fresh conch salad on the beach, spear lobster…yes to all that.

The next phase of development plan would put a golf course in the middle of what is called the North Bimini Marine Reserve (“NBMR”). In my opinion, this type of development eliminates the opportunity to enjoy a lot of the aforementioned activities.

This land was declared a protected area in 2008 but the Bahamian government never enacted a law that would ban such developments.

The west side of North Bimini was rocked by development. But if the east side can be salvaged by blocking the golf course, the environment should not be harmed any further. Maybe the government will sign the NBMR into law and everyone can move on.

I certainly will not give up on Bimini. A massive storm wrecked a big resort and casino built on Bimini back in the 1920s. My friend’s home is built on top of those ruins. So we will see what Mother Nature has in store.

On my next visit, I plan to set up shop at Big Johns (hotel, bar, marina), which maintains some of the charm I fell in love with in 1996. As the Calypsonians sang “Once you come here, you’ll want to stay here, down in Bimini by the Sea.” Indeed.


 Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at or at

Blake Dowling: Adopt best practices to thwart online thieves

As Floridians, we are on the cutting edge of most things in the United States. Along with Texas and California, we lead the nation in college football recruiting, retirement, technology and electoral college power.

Unfortunately, what makes us great also makes us targets.

A lot of cyber scams target the elderly in our states (fake emails/cryptolocker), our tourists (gas skimming/emv chips), government (data breaches) and businesses (boss-phishing). So we must constantly be on the lookout for cyber-crime. (Google the above items with my name and you can find previous columns on those threats).

When I wrote about some of those earlier columns, there were several references to the mob. Specifically in regards to stolen personal information like Social Security numbers and credit card numbers.

When data is stolen, it is sold to someone, usually criminal organizations. They can purchases such lists on the dark web or in person.

Let’s take a crash course in the Russian mob. With the fall of the Soviet Union, some former KGB agents, government employees, and soldiers needed somewhere to use their skills. So, why not start a global international crime syndicate?

The Russian mafia, according to various sources, is comprised of 10 brigades that operate independently of one another. Their top revenue streams are the drug trade and human trafficking.

However, their e-crime division is expanding. The total annual revenue is estimated at almost $10 billion for the Russian mob. From a business perspective it is interesting to note that although they act independently, the groups pool their resources and meet annually to discuss how to divide the money.

A 12-person council hosts the meeting and the sessions are said to be disguised as festive occasions.

The Russians are not the only ones into cyber-crime. U.S. and Japanese crime syndicates are deep into the e-crime game. In the U.S. conservative estimates put identity-theft costs at $20 billion per year.

The landscape for anyone who uses computer technology has gotten very tricky to navigate. Last year I got a call from American Express asking if I was in Milan buying a fur coat. That sounds lovey, and I am in desperate need of a new one, however I am in Tallahassee.

But I had recently been to Greece and I can only imagine how they got my American Express number.

A typical scam might have gone down like this: my lovely wife and I are having some baklava and ouzo shots at the end of the day. I ask for the check, the waiter takes the card and the bill, sneaks around the corner, takes a photograph of the card, and then runs the transaction.

They wait a few weeks and then, boom, they are on the phone with a fur-coat shop. AMX does a great job notifying its clients of fraud. They called me, declined the purchase, reported the crime, and shipped me a new card that I had the next day.

Here some tips:

— when traveling, always notify your credit card carrier of your destinations

— if you accept credit cards, deploy EMV chip technology

— use the latest anti-virus and anti-spam products on your computer

— keep all passwords complex and change them often

— only shop on secure online stores as noted by the first letters of HTTPS in the web address

— have a dedicated card for online shopping

— review all accounts and your credit score regularly

— have a robust firewall in your office

— don’t be click happy with emails from strangers and friends alike

— use common sense.

There is no foolproof way to avoid all cyber-criminals, but using best practices like the ones above will help keep Russian mobsters out of your wallet.


Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology column is published by several organizations. Contact him at or at www.aegisbiztech.comColumn courtesy of Context Florida.

Blake Dowling: It’s past time to start “dipping” your chip

Have you received your new credit card in the mail with a microchip in it?

Does it allow the credit card company to know everything about you day or night?


But in the short term it’s an added layer of security attempting to slow down the roaring rapids of credit card fraud and data breaches. The deployment of this type of credit card is much-needed in the United States, because such fraud has doubled in the past seven years.

The shift to EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) is in full swing. It’s a global effort and U.S. card issuers are finally getting on board with the aim of reducing the domestic costs associated with fraud. You’d think we’d be at the front of the line and on the cutting edge, but we’re not. In fact we are the last major market still using the now-obsolete magnetic card swipe tech.

Europe and China were the first to the party. In fact, China was accused of altering some of the first-generation terminals bound for Europe so that the secure data was sent back to China for devious purposes. As far as getting the U.S. where it needs to be, “It’s going to take a little time to adapt,” says Doug Johnson, vice president of risk management policy for the American Bankers Association. But as you read this about 25 percent of our country’s cards will be chip equipped.

You may wonder how a chip specifically assists with fraud reduction.

First off they’re difficult to counterfeit. In traditional cards the magnetic strip contains data that is static and unchanging. If that data is stolen it can be used for fraud, easily making fake cards. In the chipped card, though, a unique transaction code is created for each purchase that can’t be used again. Therefore, if one code was stolen and a counterfeit card created, that card would be denied.

One of the most interesting (or more frightening than a “Walking Dead” season finale if you’re in retail) is the liability shift associated with the move to EMV. In the past the card issuer was responsible for fraud. However, if the retailer in question doesn’t have an EMV setup with their point-of-sale system then the liability moves to them. Someone has been busy lobbying this change because card issuers have been on the hook for a long time.

So this is huge, bigger then Elvis in 1974, bigger than the Old 96’er (a 96-ounce steak) in the Dan Aykroyd film, “The Great Outdoors.” You get the idea.

So with anything new there is a lot to consider. The process for the consumer is slightly tedious because you’re no longer swiping the card:  You’re inserting it and must wait until the terminal reads it before you can remove the card.

That process is called “card dipping.” Tedious may be a strong word for it, but we live in the world of fast and easy, and anything that gets in the way of that is a drag on our lifestyle. To that end there’s a large push for Near Field Communication. NFC-equipped cards are tapped on the terminal and the data is read instantly without the need for card dipping. That technology, though, is not quite ready for prime time, so stay tuned.

If you have questions on why your cards are not chip-equipped give the card issuer a call to make sure you have the latest and greatest tech available. Also, contact your card issuer if you plan overseas travel to ensure your chip card will work in Sweden, Bangkok or wherever your travels take you.

Happy New Year.

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Blake Dowling is chief business development officer at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology column is published monthly. Contact him at or at

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