New "Wiretap" ATM Skimmers Are Invisible to Your Eye

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ATM skimmers just keep getting scarier. In his ongoing series on skimmer innovation, security guru Brian Krebs highlighted a new card skimmer—the increasingly thin device that intercepts and snags your credit card details—that's been spotted in the wild. And unlike the vast majority of skimmers that attach to or replace machine's card reader, this skimmer just eavesdrops on your perfectly legitimate transaction to steal your info.

You'd only know that this skimmer was in use if you happened to notice an unusual decal on the front of the machine. (That's it in the photo above, the white card-looking thing in the bottom righthand corner.) "The criminals cut a hole in the fascia around the card reader where the decal is situated," the European ATM Security Team (EAST) explained recently in a private report. "A device is then inserted and connected internally onto the card reader, and the hole covered with a fake decal."


The skimmer acts like a wiretap, intercepting data as it flows from the card into the machine's computer. The device represents an advancement from the almost invisible, razor-thin skimmer that Krebs highlighted in his series a couple of months ago. It's also a tremendous advancement from the big bulky skimmers that started appearing on the streets over ten years ago.

But don't be too worried. Both of these types of skimmers also require a hidden camera to read your pin as you enter it. That means all you have to do to protect yourself from cash machine hacker-thieves is cover your hand as you type. Also, don't use shady ATMs in shady places. That's a good rule, in general. [Krebs on Security]


Image via EAST