Paula Bennett not concerned about security

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 10:58 24/10/2012

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Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says she is not concerned about the robustness of Ministry of Social Development security despite serious questions being raised.

On Monday Fairfax Media reported the personal identification numbers (PIN) for the payment cards being rolled out to 2600 young beneficiaries were the last four digits of the card numbers.

A signature was also required but security experts said that was no longer considered sufficient safeguard.

Mrs Bennett has asked for a full briefing from MSD this week.

''But to be honest, they're as secure as a credit card really.''

A lot of people still verified their credit card with a signature and, while it was not the most modern practice, MSD did not have concerns about security, she said.

The PIN was used to open the account but identity was verified by signature.

MSD was ''quite sure'' that was safe. She did not believe it raised concerns about ongoing security issues within MSD.

An independent review into the ministry's information systems was under way after secure information was able to be accessed through public kiosks in Work and Income offices.

However, Mrs Bennett said she had heard anecdotal evidence about misuse of the payment cards.

''I can't stop individual practice really, we have some bizarre things that happen; you know people buy 10 cooked chickens and then go and sell them in the car park.''

Batteries were the most purchased item on the cards because they were easily onsold, while food was being swapped for cash, she said.

''All I can do is try and put the right security around it and get it to the right people.''

The cards can only be used in supermarkets, to pay bills, or where Work and Income quotes are accepted.Alcohol, tobacco and fast food cannot be bought using the cards, nor can cash be withdrawn.

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- The Dominion Post

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