ATM skimmers are devices that attach to the card portal of an automated teller that record bank card data when customers insert their bank cards into the machines.
Although dangerous for crooks–the skimmers have to be installed and retrieved–new technology is improving the devices to make it easier for crooks to steal data: advanced skimmers eliminate the risk of being caught by relaying bank card information via text message.
Virus-writers target Windows because it is a widespread O/S; criminals target ATMs much the same way, designing skimmers to work with popular ATM models.
Surprisingly, skimmers are sold online, available on well-protected, secure sites that cater to hackers; according to Krebs on Security, some sell for “between $7,000 and $8,000.” He goes on to state that all skimmers aren’t so pricey, “Many are prefabricated, relatively simple devices that fraudsters attach to an ATM and then collect at some later point to retrieve the stolen data.”
Most customers have little to fear from skimmers if they employ common sense; use ATMs in well-lit areas and don’t use machines if something looks out of place; mismatched colors, odd protrusions, or components that look as if they’ve been recently added to the ATM are all warning signs.
If you feel that you’ve been a victim, MSI’s detectives are well-trained in electronic counter measures; don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions.