LONDON A date verification software bug, akin to the kind of bug that didn't hit in the year 2000, has caused problems for holders of millions of German credit cards and automatic teller machine (ATM) cards.
The German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV) has issued a statement (in German) outlining that the problem hit as German card users tried to conduct transactions in the New Year. According to DSGV, some 20 million ATM cards and 3.5 million credit cards are affected.
The card holders are being advised to carry cash as well as their cards in case the cards do not work. But as in most cases they need the cards to get cash from ATMs the advice could be seen as problematic.
Gemalto NV (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), the descendent company of chip-in-card pioneer Gemplus, more or less took responsibility for the bug when it said that it is a major supplier to German banks and has been working on investigating and fixing the problem since it first came to light on Sunday (Jan. 3).
Oberthur Technologies SA (Levallois-Perret, France) said that cards that it had manufactured were not impacted and continue to function normally. Banking cards with chip modules from Giesecke & Devrient GmbH are also working properly. "No card with a G&D chip module has caused any difficulties at ATMs or points of sale," the compay said, in a statement.
Eurosmart, an international association representing the smart card industry, has issued a statement saying that the issue involves a verification procedure on the date, performed prior to any critical transaction is conducted with the smart card; therefore no security standards or technologies used by the payment industry are at stake. The issue does not concern cards issued outside Germany, Eurosmart said.