The PIN information was fully encrypted at the keypad, remained encrypted within our system, and remained encrypted when it was removed from our systems.
To help explain this, we want to provide more context on how the encryption process works. When a guest uses a debit card in our stores and enters a PIN, the PIN is encrypted at the keypad with what is known as Triple DES. Triple DES encryption is a highly secure encryption standard used broadly throughout the U.S.
If they were using "true" end-to-end encryption, there are no known attacks other than card skimmer magic*. If that was the case, there wouldn't be much of an investigation, as the facts (and scope) would be pretty clear.
That leaves a network packet monitor attack, a database related breach/attack, log file snarfing (depending on the vendor, log files can contain a LOT of data.), or something I'm not thinking of.
I find it odd that they say that pins have been pilfered, but not the card numbers. That, to me, suggests a DB related attack, and the attackers only got the pin table/columns. A list of pin numbers though, of course, is completely useless (8374 - Here's a free one) on it's own. Decrypting them should be trivial, given the limited number of possible pin numbers, even if the table was salted. But again, what would be the point. I'm guessing that the next release will say that card numbers were compromised as well.
As for the 3des part, It just doesn't make any sense. As other people have already said, 3des is symmetrical, so saying they don't have the key is impossible. My guess is that they are actually using SSL (which could then in turn negotiate a 3des key). If that is the case, then each session key would be unique, and target would never have "access" to it as it would only exist in RAM.
To my knowledge. I'd be happy/interested if someone could prove me wrong here.
set it to a collision that's double the actual speed they were driving while caught texting. (In other words, head-on collision with another vehicle doing the same speed
Actually, that is false. A head on collision with a vehicle of the same mass would be no different than the indestructible brick wall. Yes, when you add a second vehicle to the mix, you are doubling the amount of moving mass, but the absolute speed remains constant. In the end, the delta V is the same in both scenarios: X to 0. Now that we know that the delta V is the same, we just have to account for the deceleration rate, which is basically the same as the duration of the impact (crumple zones and all that). Since we have identical cars, they will deform at the same rate, acting as each others' brick wall. Once they collide, they would be exerting identical force on each other, so the front bumpers would remain in the same location, just like the brick wall. Since the front of your car can no longer move forward, the collision happens, and the body of your car absorbs the energy required to decelerate to 0. The energy released when two cars collide is doubled, but it is also spread over twice the area (ie, now you have 2 wrecked cars).
Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau