Criminals constructing ATM skimmers from DAPs

A recent article from Brian Krebs highlights a new trend in ATM skimmers: by using parts from cut-rate audio players and spy cams, criminals are able to construct something called an audio skimmer that records the data from the magnetic strip for later playback. Also included in the device is a miniature spy cam, which captures the user's PIN. The basic methodology behind the device is nothing new (for instance, it could be found in an issue of Phrack dating back to 1992) although the use of DAPs means that the whole thing is a lot more elegant than it was in the days of the portable cassette recorder. According to a recent report by the European ATM Security Team (EAST), devices of this type have been found in five countries, two of them "major ATM deployers" (with 40,000 active ATMs or more). Please guys, don't get any ideas. PR from EAST after the break.

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Skimming attacks at European ATMs rise 24%, although related losses fall 8%

13 October, 2010 -- The latest European ATM Crime Report published by EAST, shows a 24% increase in card skimming attacks at European ATMs. 5,743 attacks were reported for the period January to June 2010, compared with 4,629 for the same period in 2009. For the same periods, skimming related losses fell from €156 million to €144 million.

This is the largest number of such attacks reported in a six month period since EAST first began recording these statistics in 2004, although not all countries are reporting increases.

In several cases there have been significant falls in skimming attacks. Anti-skimming measures are now in place at many European ATMs and throughout Europe initiatives are in place to encourage cardholders to shield their PIN at ATMs and payment terminals.

The EAST report shows that ATM related card skimming losses have fallen consecutively for the last five reporting periods, from a high of €315 million in the second half of 2007, to the €144 million just reported. The fall is believed to be a direct result of the effectiveness of the EMV rollout, as compromised European cards are increasingly being used outside of the 31 countries of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

Domestic losses (losses from national cards within national borders) have fallen 41%, from €41 million in the first half of 2009, to €24 million.

International losses (losses from national cards outside national borders) have risen 4% from €114 million to €119 million. A significant part of these international losses are now occurring outside Europe in areas where EMV has not yet been implemented.

The EAST report also provides statistics relating to other types of ATM fraud, as well as to physical attacks at ATMs, and robberies, and EAST has recently placed seized criminal video footage onto its website, showing how criminals can capture PINs, and how cardholders can protect them.

For more information on ATM security and EAST contact:
Lachlan Gunn, EAST Coordinator
email: []
tel: + 44 131 510 0268