Most people have heard about ATM skimmers by now–devices designed to look like and replace an ATM’s card insertion slot. When an unsuspecting ATM user swipes his or her credit card through the fake dummy slot, the skimmer makes a digital copy of the ATM’s magnetic strip,  making it easy for thieves to use a victim’s credit card as they please.  However, a new twist on this scam not only copies your credit card information, but also captures your PIN numbers.

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atm-machine1ATM attacks seem to be on the rise according to a recent report released by the European Security agency, Enisa. The report shows a 149 percent increase in ATM attacks including 10,302 “skimming” incidents. What is more alarming is the fact that hackers are making moves towards attacking the server networks used by banks to connect the ATM’s to the bank-office systems, which could result in a widespread attack. They plan to install software on the ATM’s that would record the pin information of costumers.

Andrea Pirotti the Executive Director at Enisa said she hopes that the report will raise awareness of the alarming growth of ATM attacks. “ATM crime is likely to become even more attractive as the latest generation of ATMs is designed to dispense other services and products, such as phone top-ups and stamps.”  According to the reports from Enisa, “The thieves collect cad numbers and, if necessary, alter the PIN for the cards they are planning to use. The thieves then sell the cards and their data to other thieves.”

William Beer, the head of the security OneSecurity team at consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers, argued that companies needed to wake up and realize that their ATM’s are becoming a much easier target. “Once upon a time they were running proprietary hardware and using operating systems and network protocols that were definitely not off-the-shelf, and these were difficult for the common criminal to replicate,” said Beer. “The fact that they’ve now moved to off-the-shelf hardware, standard operating systems and open network protocols makes the end game easier for the criminals – there needs to be a clearer recognition that these systems are vulnerable.”

It seems that with ATM attacks on the rise and bank security procedures becoming less and less effective, customers are going to have fewer places to safely store their money. The banking companies that are so concerned with keeping our business should spend some time increasing their security so fewer people start reverting to hiding their money under their mattresses.

(Via www.computing.co.uk)


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