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Expert: U.S. slow to adopt more secure credit cards

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Hackers around the world target U.S. credit cards because the country has been slow to adopt technology that makes lifting information hard, an expert says.

Randy Vanderhoof, director of the EMV Migration Forum, told the Los Angeles Times that cards in most other countries store information on a microchip. EMV stands for EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa and the forum sets standards for cards.

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"The U.S. is one of the last markets to convert from the magnetic stripe," he said. "There's fewer places in the world where that stolen data could be used. So the U.S. becomes more of a high-value target."

Target revealed this week that data from millions of cards used at its stores over a period of a few weeks had been compromised. Vanderhoof said that breach would have been impossible in most other countries.

About 1 percent of cards used in the United States now have embedded microchips. They have become so common overseas that many U.S. residents now report problems using their credit cards when they travel, the Times said.

The U.S. industry has announced plans to make changes over the next few years, the Times said.

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