Just like consumer tech, criminal tech advances in leaps and bounds — and none more so than the ATM skimmer. Now, the kinds of skimmers being used are so slim and small that you'll never see them — and their battery life means they last an age too.
Krebs on Security has a round-up of some of the miniaturised fraud devices that have been found in cash machines so far this year — and it's pretty grim reading. While many card skimmers sit on the outside of an ATM, there's an increasing trend for using devices that are so small, such as the ones below, that they're hidden inside the card slot.
The European ATM Security Team claims that these new insert skimmers are getting harder and harder to detect. In fact, that skimmer was used in conjunction with a tiny camera supported by a rather meaty battery (pictured below) which will keep it running as long as possible. Krebs explains how it works:
The miniaturized insert skimmer above was used in tandem with a tiny spy camera to record each customer's PIN. The image on the left shows the hidden camera situated just to the left of the large square battery; the photo on the right shows the false ATM fascia that obscures the hidden camera as it was found attached to the compromised ATM (notice the tiny pinhole at the top left edge of the device).
Elsewhere, there's another new type of transparent skimmer in use that sits mainly inside the card slot — but is made from high-grade plastics so that the part sticking out of the ATM looks intentional.
All that, alongside the more traditional externally mounted skimmers, many powered by cell phones to deliver bank details straight from the ATM keypad to a crook's smartphone. The advice, as ever, remains the same: if anything ever looks suspicious at an ATM, don't use it. It's just annoying that spotting the problem is getting more and more difficult. [Krebs on Security]
Pictures: Catatronic/Flickr, EAST