In the modern, digital age where every bit of our personal information is digitized and available in some form or another, security is more important than ever. Identity theft used to be easier, in a way, but it was simply easier to have your identity stolen without someone figuring it out for a while, kind of like what we saw in Mad Men. I’m not sure that you could pull off a Dick Whitman in 2016 anymore, but identity thieves are able to take easily-accessible information to sign up for credit cards and at least wreak some havoc on your personal credit scores.
One of the riskier interactions that we can have in our daily lives is with ATM machines. ATM skimmers have been around for a while now, with thieves getting more and more creative with them. The problem with ATM skimmers is that they are hardware-based, involving someone physically installing parts that can skim an ATM card’s number, even able to recognize the PIN typed into a touchpad. What could be scarier? Gizmodo talks about a piece of software called Skimer that doesn’t need any sort of physical device, it simply works as malware that infects the ATM.
The hackers begin by installing a file called Backdoor.Win32.Skimer, malware that hides in the ATM code waiting for the hacker to open it with a particular card.
It’s that easy. Here’s a video of Skimer in action. Apparently once the ATM is infected the hackers can simply pull all of the money out of the ATM if they wish.
So remember, while you might be doing everything that you can to keep your data safe at home, on your mobile devices and on websites you frequent, there are always situations that are simply outside of your control. Make sure that you monitor your debit card statements carefully.