Credit Card Skimmers Thwarted

You’ve probably seen news clips talking about a compromised ATM or point-of-sale device that is being used to collect credit card or debit card credentials. These ‘skimmers’ capture the magnetic stripe and PIN code information.

In an ArsTechnica article by Sean Gallagher, a couple of researchers have created the ‘SkimReaper’ device to thwart these skimmers.

There were four types of skimmers found during the study.

  • Overlays are one of the two most common. These are put on top of the ATM or PoS system and sometimes have a corresponding keypad to collect PIN info.
  • Deep Inserts, another of the most common, are designed to be jammed into the card reader slots. The info is read when the card is inserted or pulled out.
  • Wiretap skimmers are installed between the device and the network they’re connected to, but this indicates a security problem on the network!
  • Internal skimmers are more common at gas pumps. They have to be installed between the terminal and the rest of the hardware, so there’s a bigger chance someone could be seen and get caught setting this up.

The NYPD and some other police agencies have signed up to use this new SkimReaper, and during initial testing, it had a 100% detection rate; pretty impressive! I still can’t help but think that if all these clever crooks helped out with some of our bigger world problems, we’d all be better off! – CMW