Chips By Aug. 25, 2014 4:44 pm
This card skimmer is a frightfully well-crafted fraud machine | Chips |

Your credit or debit card is pretty darn thin. The slot on the ATM that you slide it into? It’s thin, too, but apparently there’s just enough room in there for a fraudster to slip in this device, steal your card data, and scam you out of your hard-earned cash.

As incredibly thin as this new skimmer shared by Brian Krebs is, it’s not necessarily any harder to detect than other skimmer’s that have been discovered inside an ATM card slot or hastily adhered to its exterior. Krebs detailed a similar skimmer two years ago; it looks even smaller than this new one, though the bare PCB doesn’t have the same durable, well-made look as the 2014 version.

There’s not much to see: a CR2012 lithium battery, a few short lengths of wire, an IC (integrated circuit) with flash storage, and a magnetic stripe reader. The size of the battery might make you think that this skimmer can only handle a busy weekend before running out of juice, but it’s probably able to run for several weeks. The device likely only wakes from a very low-power sleep state when a card insertion is detected.

Skimmers have been hiding in plain sight and fooling ATM users for years. It’s only in the past few years that they’ve shrunk to a size where they can be hidden inside the card reader, and this specimen serves as further proof that, yes, scammers are continuing to refine skimming hardware and techniques.

While protecting your card might be getting harder, protecting your PIN remains relatively simple. Skimmers typically work in tandem with a camera that captures key presses, so as long as you cover the keypad area with your other hand (and you’ve checked the keypad out thoroughly beforehand and you’re confident it’s not a scammer’s overlay) you should be safe.

This card skimmer is a frightfully well-crafted fraud machine | Chips |


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