Fraud investigators say they’ve uncovered a sophisticated new breed of credit card skimmers being installed at gas pumps that is capable of relaying stolen card data via mobile text message, thereby enabling fraudsters to collect it from anywhere in the world. One interesting component of this criminal innovation is a small cellphone and Bluetooth-enabled device hidden inside the contactless payment terminal of the pump, which appears to act as a Bluetooth hub that wirelessly gathers card data from multiple compromised pumps at a given filling station.
Thieves are combining SMS-based phishing attacks with new “cardless” ATMs to rapidly convert phished bank account credentials into cash. Recent arrests in Ohio shed light on how this scam works.
The U.S. Secret Service is warning financial institutions about a recent uptick in a form of ATM skimming that involves cutting cupcake-sized holes in a cash machine and then using a combination of magnets and medical devices to siphon customer account data directly from the card reader inside the ATM.
Previous stories here on the proliferation of card-skimming devices hidden inside fuel pumps have offered a multitude of security tips for readers looking to minimize their chances of becoming the next victim, such as favoring filling stations that use security cameras and tamper-evident tape on their pumps. But according to police in San Antonio, Texas, there are far more reliable ways to avoid getting skimmed at a fuel station.
Much of the fraud involving counterfeit credit, ATM debit and retail gift cards relies on the ability of thieves to use cheap, widely available hardware to encode stolen data onto any card’s magnetic stripe. But new research suggests retailers and ATM operators could reliably detect counterfeit cards using a simple technology that flags cards which appear to have been altered by such tools.
When you realize how easy it is for thieves to compromise an ATM or credit card terminal with skimming devices, it’s difficult not to inspect or even pull on these machines when you’re forced to use them personally — half expecting something will come detached. For those unfamiliar with the stealth of these skimming devices and the thieves who install them, read on.
On Jan. 27, 2018, KrebsOnSecurity published what this author thought a scoop about the first known incidence of U.S. ATMs being hit with “jackpotting” attacks, a crime in which thieves deploy malware that forces cash machines to spit out money like a loose Las Vegas slot machine. As it happens, the first known jackpotting attacks in the United States were reported in November 2017 by local media on the west coast, although the reporters in those cases seem to have completely buried the lede.
ATM “jackpotting” — a sophisticated crime in which thieves install malicious software and/or hardware at ATMs that forces the machines to spit out huge volumes of cash on demand — has long been a threat for banks in Europe and Asia, yet these attacks somehow have eluded U.S. ATM operators. But all that changed this week after the U.S. Secret Service quietly began warning financial institutions that jackpotting attacks have now been spotted targeting cash machines here in the United States.
Crooks who make and deploy ATM skimmers are constantly engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with financial institutions, which deploy a variety of technological measures designed to defeat skimming devices. The latest innovation aimed at tipping the scales in favor of skimmer thieves is a small, battery powered device that provides crooks a digital readout indicating whether an ATM likely includes digital anti-skimming technology.
One basic tenet of computer security is this: If you can’t vouch for a networked thing’s physical security, you also cannot vouch for its cybersecurity. That’s because in most cases, networked things really aren’t designed to foil a skilled and determined attacker who can freely connect his own devices. So you can imagine my shock and horror seeing a Cisco switch and wireless antenna sitting exposed atop of an ATM out in front of a bustling grocery store in my hometown of Northern Virginia.