Archive 2008 - 2019

ATM Skimming

by Matthew Payton

ATM Skimming has become a very real threat in societies throughout America, and unfortunately Holliston and the surrounding area is no exception. Cyber criminals install “skimmers”, malicious card readers designed to pull data off the magnetic strip of debit cards, onto the real payment terminals consumers use every day, and some of the modern designs of these attacks can be difficult to spot when the rush of the day to day is upon us.
Once installed the attacker returns to the compromised machine discretely when the machine is not in use, and can collect all of the stolen data, either for resale through the information underground, or to use themselves. This data can be employed not only to extract funding from an account, but to create cloned cards, and even new accounts entirely under an alias.
These types of attacks are likely here to stay, and will persist in plaguing America even after banks universally make the switch to chip and pin based cards according to Stefan Tanase, a security researcher employed by Kaspersky labs. Nonetheless however there are a few pieces of information residents of Holliston can arm themselves with in order to protect themselves.

?    When approaching an ATM check for obvious signs of tampering at the top of the machine, near the speakers, around the monitor, and always around the card reader itself. If the style, color, or material doesn’t appear consistent, or if graphics don’t align appropriately then play it safe, and or contact the Bank.
?    As stated above modern designs of these attacks don’t always leave physical cues, however even if the physical differences are well hidden wiggling and prodding respectfully prior to use can reveal loose parts, particularly those that protrude like the keyboard and the card reader in particular.
?    Be aware of your surroundings, it is not uncommon for a hidden camera to be implemented externally to coincide with these attacks, so a brief examination of your immediate surroundings, coupled with covering the keyboard when providing your PIN can be an excellent step towards ensuring your data’s integrity.
It is this casual writer and information security professionals hope that this information assists citizens of Holliston in some way, please do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have, or if interested additional resources on the subject can be provided.

Comments (2)

Thanks for the GREAT TIP! Simple and easy to do..'no second guessing yourself' or looking like a loon trying to see if the ATM I'm using has the skimmer on it..;)

kate foley | 2016-03-24 07:47:47

When using an ATM, I always attempt to grab the card slot and give it a good yank and twist. Don't worry about damaging a real ATM (they're built like safes) but a skimmer will move or detach. If it does, find another ATM and notify the bank or police.

PSimpson | 2016-03-24 03:46:04