Wow, this is exciting. I have been working for NetSecure Technologies since before SmartSwipe was released to consumers. Seeing it on here, with all of you people commenting and asking questions is an unbelievable start to my Friday.
I'm going to try to answer any questions you have, and I encourage you to keep asking them!
Also, I dont see how this device is even supposed to work! It seems like all it does is stop YOU from seeing your credit card numbers in plaintext on YOUR computer screen. It doesn't stop the vendor from getting the numbers, right? Cause otherwise how would the vendor charge you for what you are purchasing?
Warning - this answer is rather technical. I'll do my best to try and keep things a little more accessible, but if I fail miserably, feel free to say, "Reading that felt like rubbing my eyes with sandpaper." :-)
This will be easiest to answer if I give you a bit of information on how security on a web page works. Let's say that you go to some-store-on-the-web.com to buy something. You pick an item, and start the checkout process.
After you enter your address and everything, the web page asks you for a credit card number. You notice there is a lock in your browser and the address starts with https, so you know that the page is encrypted (or scrambled). You type your information and hit submit.
Sounds pretty simple, hey?
From a security point of view, there is a big problem. Your credit card information is very vulnerable as you key it in - cyber criminals write things called keystroke loggers that will silently steal from you as you type in your information. And your credit card information is not actually encrypted until after you hit submit - so lots of malicious software (viruses, etc) can steal it as it sits (in plain text) in your computer's memory.
(My inner Star Wars fan sort of wants to play the Imperial March, it seems fitting)
If you use SmartSwipe, your credit card information is actually encrypted as you swipe your card through the device. So, in other words, your card information is already scrambled before it even reaches your computer. Consequently, you can have keystroke loggers, or other kinds of malicious stuff on your computer and the criminals still can't get your real credit card information.
Then, it joins up with the regular encryption stream and reaches the web site in the exact same format that they expect it. If you're interested, I can post a really good video that a reporter in Utah made about SmartSwipe. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, well, a video is significantly better than ten thousand of my words!
Oh brevity....an ability I wish I had....:-)
Does this make any more sense? If not, it was -25 degrees Fahrenheit when I came to work this morning, so maybe give me a few hours for my brain to thaw out.....