New ATM Skimmers Connect To The Card Reader Via A Nearly Invisible Hole

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A new advance in credit card theft technology has hit the streets and it’s pretty clever. The ATM hackers are now drilling a small hole near the card reader and inserting a bit of electronics that connects to the ATM’s innards. The hole is then covered by a decal and the skimmer fished out once the thieves are ready to take in their haul.

Discovered by the European ATM Security Team, the new skimmers are not physically attached to the outside of the machine and instead are hidden inside, out of sight. Writes Brian Krebs:

I sought clarification from EAST about how the device works. Most skimmers are card slot overlay devices that work by using a built-in component which reads the account data off of the magnetic stripe when the customer inserts the card. But Lachlan Gunn, EAST’s executive director, suggested that this device intercepts the card data from the legitimate card reader on the inside of the ATM. He described the wiretapping device this way:“It’s where a tap is attached to the pre-read head or read head of the card reader,” Lachlan said. “The card data is then read through the tap. We still classify it as skimming, but technically the magnetic stripe [on the customer/victim’s card] is not directly skimmed as the data is intercepted.”

Thieves still have to use hidden cameras to steal user PIN codes, a fact that is key in preventing credit card theft. Hiding the PIN pad with your free hand is imperative no matter where you are. I also tug on the various parts of the ATM before I slide my card but, as we’ve just learned, that doesn’t always help.