Have you ever seen an ATM skimmer at an automated teller machine?

Pierluigi Paganini June 26, 2016

The cyber security expert Benjamin Tedesco during his vacation in Vienna, Austria, has spotted an ATM skimmer quite impossible to detect to common people.

Have you ever seen a skimmer while using an ATM?

Unfortunately, we have to admit that it isn’t so easy to find it, in the majority of cases, the victims are not able to discover an ATM installed by crooks. We have learned by numerous reports that these devices look like legitimate ATM components (i.e. card slots, ATM vestibule doors) and are difficult to identify.

The cyber security expert Benjamin Tedesco shared his experience with the media, during his vacation in Vienna, Austria, he spotted an ATM skimmer quite impossible to detect.

Tedesco was attempting to draw some cash from an ATM machine near the St. Stephen’s Cathedral when noticed something of strange.  Ops, it was a credit card skimmer, he described the device as a replica of the card reader.

“While on vacation with my family in Vienna, Austria, I went to grab some cash from an ATM. Being security paranoid, I repeated my typical habit of checking the card reader with my hand as I have 100’s of times. Today’s the day when my security awareness paid off!” Tedesco wrote in a blog post.

The experts inspected the ATM skimmer and he discovered a control board with a four pin connector, the battery pack, and of course a magnetic strip reader.

“it has a battery (the large silver object on the right) some sort of switch (the small silver object in the middle with the small black tab sticking out of it) and of course the control board with the 4 pin connector (the large green board to the left).” continues the post.

ATM skimmer
Tedesco shared a video to spread awareness on ATM skimmers devices, he invites all to carefully inspect ATM to avoid such kind of attacks.

Another thing to consider is that attack ATM is very simple for criminals, a video released by Miami Beach Police shows two men installing a credit card skimmer in less than 3 seconds.

Security and fraud experts are observing a significant increase in the number of cyber attacks against the ATMs, in particular, skimming attacks. The popular investigator Brian Krebs recently published an interesting post that warns about an alarming increase of skimming attacks for both American and European banks.

“Skimming attacks on ATMs increased at an alarming rate last year for both American and European banks and their customers, according to recent stats collected by fraud trackers.” wrote Krebs. “The trend appears to be continuing into 2016, with outbreaks of skimming activity visiting a much broader swath of the United States than in years past.”

The FICO Card Alert Service issued several warning about a spikes in ATM skimming attacks.

On April 8, FICO noted that its fraud-tracking service recorded a 546 percent increase in ATM skimming attacks from 2014 to 2015.

It is essential to share awareness on such kind of attacks to mitigate them.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  ATM skimmer, cybercrime)

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