German security wire warns of SMS-enabled ATM card skimmers

While Infosecurity notes that the obvious advice is to walk on to the next cash machine if you encounter something suspicious – waiting until you have left the vicinity to call the police – the Heise Online newswire reports that the latest crop of ATM card skimming devices are piping stolen card data and PINs via SMS text messaging.

According to the German security wire, the skimming devices "copy the magnetic strip of cash point and credit cards at the card slot and spy on PINs via keyboard attachments or mini cameras."

"The new generation of skimming devices no longer store the data over a period of time for later collection, but transmit it via SMS direct to the criminals, allowing them to clone card details from the comfort of their own living room", says the newswire.

As a result of the requirement to only visit the ATM once to plant the skimming device, H-Online says the risk of getting caught is significantly reduced.

This new method of skimming isn't entirely new, says the newswire, "as some skimming devices have transmitted their data via short-distance radio for quite a while. However, with a radio link the criminals need to keep their receivers within range of the device."

Security researcher Brian Krebs has been running a series of reports on ATM frauds in recent months and has noted that it is now possible to 'rent' the latest skimmers from fraudsters.

Some of the latest ATM skimmers, says Krebs, even include an alarm that triggers if they are removed by anyone other than the criminal.

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