View Full Version : Magnetic Strip Encoders/Readers
01-04-2004, 01:28 AM
Prompted by another GQ thread, I thought I'd ask you guys this related question.
Are there any consumer products out there that allow you to:
1) view all content on all tracks of an encoded magnetic strip on, say, a bank card?
2) encode this info on a blank strip?
I guess what I'm asking is if there's a cheap way to find out exactly what data is stored on a card and then if there's a device (perhaps a computer accessory) that will encoded to a strip, for a price that's not outrageous for the financially minded consumer.
I once scanned my Driver's License barcode at work using our POS, and it popped up "Invalid item - VADLxxxxxxxxxCIVILDEFENSE". I'm guessing the info stored in the regular barcode was just that info, but I have no idea what was in the 3D barcode. Wee.
01-04-2004, 08:17 AM
Yes and yes. Here's the first that I found:link. (http://www.customcardsystems.com/msr.html)
If you want to see all the data, make sure the MSR reads tracks 1, 2 & 3. Some read only tracks 1 & 2.
The software interface in my link looks remarkably like the one in the Mythbusters electric eel episode.
A reader will cost about $70. I don't know about encoders.
btw, your drivers license has a 2D barcode, not 3D.
01-04-2004, 03:05 PM
I thought the 2D barcodes were the straight line of bars, ie: |ii||i||iii||.. and 3D barcodes were the rectangular boxes filled with dots? My DL has both
The MSR-206 looks good for both reading and encoding. Thank you!
01-04-2004, 07:22 PM
2d is the is the rectangular box filled with small rectangles... this uses both x and y dimensions. The straight line is 1d - it uses only one dimension, a swipe down the length of the code. The height of the bars is unused except to make it easier to hit with the scanner.
01-04-2004, 11:28 PM
By the way..expect some raised eyebrows if you go around asking for mag stripe encoders.
Think about it..you get a stolen credit card, a fresh CC number (waaay too easy to get) and re-encode the stolen card with the fresh number.
Then go shopping. Thats why some, not most, retailers have to manually punch in the last 4 digits on Credit card purchases.
I was under the impression that the encoders were somewhat controlled.
01-04-2004, 11:37 PM
I'm (fairly) confident that it wouldn't be that easy to encode a CC with just the number and the expy. I'm sure that the three digit code, along with other redundant check stuff is encoded in there somewhere. Granted, that this would be possible with a machine that could actually read all of the tracks for you in their entirety, I doubt it's possibly with just the CC number and expy.
01-04-2004, 11:43 PM
Nope, just the 16 dig CC# and the 4 dig exp date.
When I used to work retail, sometimes we would get customers with demagged card and we would manually enter only the numbers above.
Consider when you call in a telephone order and pay with your CC. Only 20 digits are usually given.
I did once need the three digit secondary number on the signature strip on the back of the card..trying to remember just what for but I think it was to activate a new card.
01-05-2004, 12:26 AM
I mean with regard to "copying" a card to function as a card. Granted, you can always just use teh 16 digit number and expy when buying things in stores, but when I worked retail, if the number wasn't on the card, embossed, then we would refuse to accept it. Finding machines to emboss numbers onto a card without raising even MORE eyebrows seems unlikely.
For use in an ATM, or to just swipe it without problem at a store, I'm guessing more than the 16 digit number and expy are needed. Otherwise, the read would fail and the cashier would need to enter the number manually. Like I said, our policy was to refuse to do this unless the card was authentic. Even then, sometimes we'd phone in the request to VISA or MC.
Most (actually, in the past 6 mos., all) of my internet shopping has required the 3 digit confirmation number on the back of the card.
My question, I think, was asking whether or not it was possible for a thief to attempt to create a new card JUST with the number and date. I still think it's not, and that more info must be encoded on the track for verification against just such a thing.
Does anyone know the format of CC tracks? Are all 3 used? Is more than just that encoded?
01-05-2004, 12:31 AM
This site (http://www.blackmarket-press.net/info/plastic/magstripe/Magstripe_track.htm) suggests that also encoded are Service Codes (2 digits) and PVV (5 digit PIN verification values), which are required by at least VISA and MasterCards.
My guess is that the card won't read correctly without this information. Manual entry is, again, an option for a well-faked card, but I'd assume that any thief with the ability to master such a replicated card (especially with the security features available on them nowadays) wouldn't even need to encode anything on the track if he knew it wouldn't work.
Anyone with more info?
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