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ATM Skimmer News – Arrests, Banks Fight Back, Crooks Use 3D Printers

by Dave on September 22, 2011

images of an atm partSeveral ATM skimmer stories caught my eye this week. First is a story from (http://ow.ly/6A9df) Seattle saying a U.S. District Attorney was included in the victims of a recent skimming ring. The story goes on to estimate that ATM skimming has grown into a $1 billion dollar industry and says recent arrests in that area may have broken up a large West Coast crime ring. Other stories from around the country indicate that ATM skimmers, including those that use gas pumps to conceal their skimmers, are still active across the U.S.

Another story (http://ow.ly/6Bh7j) details recent anti-skimming innovations. One clever trick is to broadcast “…radio frequencies to create a protection shield around the card entry slot, which disables any device placed on the card reader. That way, the ATM can remain in service, but the skimming attack is denied.” This option is activated when another feature “…detects any foreign device placed over the card entry slot.” Similar systems by other manufacturers can send an alert when a skimmer is detected to a monitoring center, a branch alarm or to dispatch local law enforcement.

The arms race between the ATM manufacturers and the criminals escalated a notch when security journalist Brian Krebs discovered (http://ow.ly/6zchg) that cyber criminals are adding 3D printers to their bag of tricks. As I’ve written about before (yesterday - http://ow.ly/6Bk5H) (and here http://ow.ly/6Bk9m), 3D printers can quickly create 3 dimensional objects to exact specifications either from data or even from images. These printers could help skimmers quickly produce large numbers of ATM parts that exactly match various ATM machines.

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