Credit card data theft just got a lot harder to prevent

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ATM skimmers, the miniature devices that stealthily help fraudsters capture your credit and debit card data, are getting smaller and harder to detect. Skimmers have always been designed to blend in with any ATM they’re attached to, but for years a discerning eye or tug of the card reader were often enough to uncover them. That’s not the case anymore. Krebs on Security has been researching a number of devices recovered in Europe this year, and several of them were small enough to fit inside the ATM card slot itself. The ultra-thin profile of these “insert skimmers” makes them far less obvious to your average person making a quick stop at the cash machine.

Just like consumer tech, criminal tech advances in leaps and bounds—and none more so than the ATM skimmer. Now, the kinds of skimmers being used are so slim and small that you’ll never see them—and their battery life means they last an age, too. Krebs on Security has a round-up of some of the miniaturized fraud devices that have been found in cash machines so far this year—and it’s pretty grim reading. While many card skimmers sit on the outside of an ATM, there’s an increasing trend for using devices that are so small, such as the ones below, that they’re hidden inside the card slot. The European ATM Security Team claims that these new insert skimmers are getting harder and harder to detect. In fact, that skimmer was used in conjunction with a tiny camera supported by a rather meaty battery (pictured below) which will keep it running as long as possible. Krebs explains how it works: “The miniaturized insert skimmer above was used in tandem with a tiny spy camera to record each customer’s PIN. The image on the left shows the hidden camera situated just to the left of the large square battery; the photo on the right shows the false ATM fascia that obscures the hidden camera as it was found attached to the compromised ATM (notice the tiny pinhole at the top left edge of the device).”

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