Steven M. Bellovin wrote:
Given the prevalance of password sniffers as early as 1993, and given that credit card number sniffing is technically easier -- credit card numbers will tend to be in a single packet, and comprise a self-checking string, I stand by my statement.

the major exploits have involved data-at-rest ... not data-in-flight. internet credit card sniffing can be easier than password sniffing .... but that doesn't mean that the fraud cost/benefit ratio is better than harvesting large transaction database files. you could possibly conjecture password sniffing enabling compromise/exploits of data-at-rest ... quick in&out and may have months worth of transaction information all nicely organized.

to large extent SSL was used to show that internet/e-commerce wouldn't result in the theoritical sniffing making things worse (as opposed to addressing the major fraud vulnerability & treat).

internet/e-commerce did increase the threats & vulnerabilities to the transaction database files (data-at-rest) ... which is were the major threat has been. There has been a proliferation of internet merchants with electronic transaction database files ... where there may be various kinds of internet access to the databases. Even when the prevalent risk to these files has been from insiders ... the possibility of outsider compromise can still obfuscate tracking down who is actually responsible.

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