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Gang Used 3D Printers To Make ATM Skimmers 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the bank-error-in-your-favor dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a post by security researcher Brian Krebs: "An ATM skimmer gang stole more than $400,000 using skimming devices built with the help of high-tech 3D printers, federal prosecutors say. ... Apparently, word is spreading in the cybercrime underworld that 3D printers produce flawless skimmer devices with exacting precision. Last year, i-materialize blogged about receiving a client's order for building a card skimmer. In June, a federal court indicted four men from South Texas whom authorities say had reinvested the profits from skimming scams to purchase a 3D printer."
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Gang Used 3D Printers To Make ATM Skimmers

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  • Very broken system (Score:4, Insightful)

    by syousef (465911) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @02:23AM (#37464896) Journal

    When a 3d printer can make a decent skimming device (or disguise one) you can't help but think the system is truly broken. Computer security has progressed in leaps and bounds - it isn't perfect and it certainly isn't idiot proof. But banks are still using hand written signatures and easily faked devices while all but ignoring the risk. Heck they're introducing pinless low value transactions at shopping centers in Australia. I'm ANNOYED that my card can be used without either a signature or a pin number verification being used. It means there's significant risk that me or my wife lose a credit card and don't immediately discover it, we'll be up for a very large sum of money. And even if we're not, we won't have access to the money while the issue is resolved.

    It's not sustainable. The banks need to be held more accountable.

    • by daid303 (843777)

      My bank fitted all ATM's with translucent green card slots, and a "idle" picture that shows "Do NOT insert card if slot does not match photo". Good luck on hiding your skimmer in something translucent.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My bank did this too. Took about 3 weeks before we saw the first new skimmers.

        They're translucent green, almost look like a screen cover for a phone.
        They fit under the new green card slot, where the green plastic protrudes over the actual card entrance to the machine.
        You have to look CLOSE to notice it; almost invisible.
        Amazing little devices, they'll actually using the insertion of the card itself to generate the power required to record the magstripe.
        The camera that shoots the PIN is actually in a differe

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          No, they need to get rid of having the transaction depend on tokens that leave the card.

          Make the ATM card a smartcard with an embedded private key, and a display/keypad. You connect it to the ATM machine, and request a transaction. The ATM sends the request to the card for authentication. The card displays the amount on the display and requests a PIN. The user types the PIN into the card and then the card signs the transaction request, which can then be sent to the bank. This works online or offline, a

      • My bank fitted all ATM's with translucent green card slots, and a "idle" picture that shows "Do NOT insert card if slot does not match photo". Good luck on hiding your skimmer in something translucent.

        You could just 3d print a cash machine and put a small lcd monitor in it and say sorry but your card has been kept please phone this number. Lots of cash machines aren't in banks anymore.

        • by daid303 (843777)

          I don't know where you live, but here all ATM's are in walls, so unless you print a whole building...

          • In the UK it's quite common to see ATM's as free standing units [businesstraveller.com] in shops, pubs or inside bank lobbies. There are even ones which are converted phone boxes [thisissouthdevon.co.uk]. Mostly the ones outside banks will charge you a flat rate for a withdrawal but people still use them. Whilst the latter might be a little harder to cart around the former is quite plausible. You'd just need somewhere to leave it.
          • I don't know where you live, but here all ATM's are in walls, so unless you print a whole building...

            In the UK cash machines are all over the place. In corner stores for example. Stand alone kiosk type things. google kiosk cash machine.

          • This isn't the 1980s anymore. ATMs can be about as small as a payphone. They have freestanding units. They even have mobile ATMs for places like county fairs. .
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            I don't know where you live, but here all ATM's are in walls, so unless you print a whole building...

            In both Canada and the US I have routinely seen free-standing ATMs (usually with jacked up transaction fees) in all kinds of places for over a decade now ... hotels, bars, convenience stores, malls, airports.

            I'm surprised you've never seen them -- they're actually quite common. Like, all over the place common. They've been in widespread use since at least 1998 when I spent some time in San Francisco.

        • You could just 3d print a cash machine and put a small lcd monitor in it and say sorry but your card has been kept please phone this number. Lots of cash machines aren't in banks anymore.

          There have been a number of cases where criminals have set up their own ATMs to do just this. They don't need to fake them, they just buy them from a company who sells ATMs to independent retailers.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        One of the banks here fitted grey plastic devices in the card slots supposedly to prevent skimming, unfortunately the devices they fitted look exactly like skimmers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by lakeland (218447)

      As someone who has helped to bring those card's you're annoyed at...

      Firstly, the security in those cards is exceedingly high. The banks are quite paranoid about extremely sophisticated dodgy merchants and/or consumers.
      But that aside, you're not taking much risk with the cards - if you report the card stolen then you'll get the money back. Yes you have to monitor it and there is a slight delay in getting it resolved. I don't know, perhaps I've drunk the kool-aid too much, it doesn't feel like a big cost f

      • if you report the card stolen then you'll get the money back.

        Thats not really the point is it, when I go out with cash, I carry what I need to use and thats it, which normally means £20-30.

        But the credit card based paywave stuff as far as I know pretty much lets you have up to your card limit so long as the payments were small without ever challenging for authentication. I would hope that the banks would start restricting it if they found me spending a £xxxx in small transactions but

        • by xaxa (988988)

          if you report the card stolen then you'll get the money back.

          Thats not really the point is it, when I go out with cash, I carry what I need to use and thats it, which normally means £20-30.

          But the credit card based paywave stuff as far as I know pretty much lets you have up to your card limit so long as the payments were small without ever challenging for authentication.

          No, it prompts for a PIN "sometimes" for security. I expect if there are too many Paywave transactions in succession.

          The maximum transaction is £15 (for Visa Paywave in the UK), and the retailers who use it accept the fraud risk (they pay back the bank, I think), so it's likely to stay as takeaway food and drinks, newsagents, etc. I think the criminal is likely to get more profit more easily by simply taking your cash.

        • Even if someone does steal your card and max out your limit, the worst case scenario is that your card is declined next time you try and use it prompting you to phone the bank, who then reverse the fraudulent transactions. Slightly inconvenient but not very as card services almost always have a 24/7 number and can solve these issues in minutes.

          • My point wasn't about the inconvience. It's more about the fact that it becomes worthwhile for someone to try to nick my wallet again. For the last decade, as people switched to cards, they started reducing the amount of cash carried with them. It just wasn't worth the risk of trying to steal someones wallet to get a couple of small notes and some loose change.

            As someone mentioned above, eventually the card prompts for a PIN, but even assuming that was once 5th transaction (and I suspect under normal cir
            • It just wasn't worth the risk of trying to steal someone's wallet to get a couple of small notes and some loose change.

              When people get mugged the value of their phone, watch, jewellery, handbag, sunglasses etc. massively exceeds the amount of money the average person carries and all of those things can be easily sold on for cash. That is what muggers are interested in, not a credit card that will be cancelled within hours and introduces a much higher risk of being caught as it is trivial for the police to c

    • pinless low value transactions

      we'll be up for a very large sum of money

      Leaving aside the obvious contradiction in these two statements, the scenario you described isn't really how this works. If someone did steal your card, yes they would be able to buy a few cups of coffee with it, despite not having a pin or signature. The ceiling for contactless payments is normally £15 so running up a "very large sum of money" is going to be pretty difficult. Also there is very little incentive for a criminal to d

      • by syousef (465911)

        pinless low value transactions

        we'll be up for a very large sum of money

        Leaving aside the obvious contradiction in these two statements, the scenario you described isn't really how this works. If someone did steal your card, yes they would be able to buy a few cups of coffee with it, despite not having a pin or signature.

        They could go to every shop that accepts this and buy something under the limit $35. So they won't be able to buy a TV doing this. But how about stockpiling groceries? Or taking the whole gang to the local mall for takeout (limit of $35 per store guys)

        Now what if my wife lost her card and didn't notice. She can sometimes go a week without using it.

        • At some point your wife would notice and report the card stolen, at that point the bank would check through all the transactions with her to establish which were fraudulent and then reverse them.

          What is more likely though is that the bank would flag the card usage as fraudulent and call her to ask her about the transactions. Going to every shop in a mall in quick succession and buying just under the limit would almost certainly be flagged up by the bank's fraud prevention systems, prompting them to get in t

          • by delinear (991444)
            What worries me more is that the bank would probably cancel my card before phoning to check even if it was me making the purchases. I then have to go through a very uncomfortable week (I rarely have much cash to hand, card is more convenient). My bank already do this (and have done this to me twice in the last year) when they see what they consider suspicious buying activity, such as when I went through a period of buying a few bits on eBay after a long period of not using it. In fact, on that occasion they
    • I don't consider employing a 3d printer and a team of people to replicate the face of an ATM to be easy. These guys are putting considerable effort into stealing money. It really comes down to the consumer, do not use ATM's you don't normally use and if you do your best to obscure your entry of your PIN number. The thieves are getting both pieces which effectively circumvents about all the bank can do.

      Now there are things that could be done to make the consumer more informed, like having a service to send t

    • The signatures are OK, they aren't really supposed to be a security measure. They're supposed to be a deliberate act of agreement. The signature is supposed to be proof primarily that you agreed to the terms of the contract, not that it was YOU who agreed to them. It's a subtle distinction, but an important one.

      I don't know how it is in australia, but in the US, you shouldn't be making purchases with an ATM card. Debt cards are a much safer choice - there is a statutory limit of liability of 50 USD, and sin

      • In Australia the bank is actually liable if your ATM card is skimmed, as it is their security that has been compromised.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @02:31AM (#37464932)
    ... that CAMERAS can actually be used to take pictures of naked people?!

    It's foolish to blame the tool for the crime. That takes people.
  • by Sasayaki (1096761) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @02:39AM (#37464962)

    I've always wondered what the economics of the world of cheap, prolific, effective 3D printers is like. If anyone can create basically any material good, what's the economics of that place like?

    Star Trek had replicators, which could basically make anything, even food or water (except for a few things which were a de-facto currency). They were basically communists, which doesn't work with people being people but might work if anyone could create whatever they wanted.

    But what about things that can't be replicated/printed? Like electricity, or land for housing, or water/food? Trek says that water and food are replicable, but with our current 3D printers obviously we can't make that just yet unless you can eat plastic.

    What's the economy of the western world going to look like if the only thing we need is material for 3D printers, power, land, food and water? Will provision of the un-replicable become the job of the state?

    • by vadim_t (324782)

      It will be hard to get there.

      Look at the Shapeways videos [shapeways.com]. There's quite a lot of human labor required, and it misses on economies of scale.

      I think for a long time it'll be like with printers. Anybody can print an entire book at home if they want to, but getting it to the point where it really looks like a book is difficult and much more expensive than just buying it. Things will only change radically if the cost falls down so much that it's only a small percentage over mass production.

      Probably the first c

      • by lxs (131946)

        The Espresso book machine [ondemandbooks.com] does just that. You put in a pdf and a paperback pops out.

        Right now, there are only a couple of them installed around the world, but I'm sure that in time others will make similar systems and before you know it every copy place and bookstore will have three.

    • by Gori (526248)

      You are forgetting the basic laws of conservation of energy and mass. There is a reason by replicators are a science fiction tech.

      Creating mass out of energy/electricity would require m/(c^2) Joules or energy. With the current speed of light and price of electricity, I would hate to see the power bill for replicating a glass of water.

      Even if you are not creating stuff out of energy, but just printing it from some base material, that base stuff needs to be produced, with the relevant chemical/material prope

    • by Animats (122034)

      I've always wondered what the economics of the world of cheap, prolific, effective 3D printers is like. If anyone can create basically any material good, what's the economics of that place like?

      The economics of 3D printing are worth noting. Complexity doesn't cost much, but material volume does. Watch size objects, yes. Auto bumpers, no.

      This is somewhat different from CNC machining, where complexity and high detail costs machining time. You have to use smaller tools and can't remove metal fast in high-detail areas. Big smooth surfaces can be machined quickly with big tools.

      • by vlm (69642)

        I've always wondered what the economics of the world of cheap, prolific, effective 3D printers is like. If anyone can create basically any material good, what's the economics of that place like?

        The economics of 3D printing are worth noting. Complexity doesn't cost much, but material volume does. Watch size objects, yes. Auto bumpers, no.

        This is somewhat different from CNC machining, where complexity and high detail costs machining time. You have to use smaller tools and can't remove metal fast in high-detail areas. Big smooth surfaces can be machined quickly with big tools.

        Also, accuracy and surface finish. My CNC mill operates to at least 100 times the accuracy of the 3d printer I want to get. Seeing myself in the reflection on milled aluminum is normal. cheap 3d printer output looks like a slightly finer version of my kids playdough projects. . I think they will work well together... I'm planning on making sand casting mold patterns using the 3d printer, cast in aluminum (I don't have the safety gear for anything hotter, like brass or iron), then machine in the mill/lat

    • by jimicus (737525)

      I've already posted a thought experiment along these lines - whereby I invent a 3D copier device that can copy arbitrary items - regardless of how complicated they are - and the end result is composed of the same material as the original. So you could, for instance, put a meat pie in one end and get another, broadly identical and perfectly edible meat pie out the other. On a larger scale, you could put a washing machine or a television in one end and get another - perfectly operational - washing machine/tel

      • by Plunky (929104)

        It sounds like a lovely idea, but I think anyone inventing this would be killed. The reason being that the implications for society are huge - and I don't think society could change quickly enough to cope.

        Can the machine reproduce itself? Like a virus invading a host organism, the rate of spread will be important.. if you invent such a machine, then the first thing to do is not sell it, but to make a bunch of copies and distribute them far and wide..

        Thats because "rich" will have changed. When there are n

        • by jimicus (737525)

          Thats because "rich" will have changed. When there are no more "have"s and "have not"s, everybody will be rich,

          Not necessarily. It would take time to distribute the theoretical machine and raw materials to make one. I suspect it would be destroyed long before sufficient copies could be made or distributed around the world.

          • How would you destroy something like that? A machine like this used right would be a more powerful weapon than an arsenal of ICBMs. And the power of exponential growth means that the 'powers that be' would have to destroy ALL copies and the blueprints for making them before at least one copy spreads to a place that they can't get to. Not to mention all someone has to do is wikileaks the blueprints and no one will ever be able to squash the technology then.

            • by vlm (69642)

              The other problem is parallel invention. Once society is at a certain level it just seems to pop certain things out literally simultaneously. All you need is one guy, anywhere out there, to realize the same idea, and then...

      • by vlm (69642)

        It sounds like a lovely idea, but I think anyone inventing this would be killed. The reason being that the implications for society are huge - and I don't think society could change quickly enough to cope.

        LOL as if the inventor wouldn't say "oh, hey, look at that ICBM, maybe I could use one of those..." all the way down to an infinite supply of bullets. Or, if he gets hit, units of transfusion blood... "look at that nifty hospital ER, that could come in handy now" "A bullet proof limousine, should have cloned that first".

        The country is full of people that didn't get that the govt was getting rid of factories and importing illegals to basically make the lower classes perma-unemployed, didn't get that newfa

    • I've always wondered what the economics of the world of cheap, prolific, effective 3D printers is like.

      It will be just like the cheap, prolific, effective color jet printers we have now. The printer will be cheap, but the cartridges will be expensive. And your printer will be able to print lots of stuff, but it will never be as good as a commercial printer. For instance, by the time I get to own a printer that prints a house, or prints a decent painting, in a couple of days, someone else will have a printer that can print a Mona Lisa, or a working plane, in less than 2 seconds.

      Star Trek had replicators, which could basically make anything, even food or water (except for a few things which were a de-facto currency).

      Star Trek is an utopian fantasy

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      And yet lawmakers think this is still science-fiction. Whent they will realize what is possible, they'll just try to outlaw that. *sigh*
    • I've always wondered what the economics of the world of cheap, prolific, effective 3D printers is like. If anyone can create basically any material good, what's the economics of that place like? ......
      What's the economy of the western world going to look like if the only thing we need is material for 3D printers, power, land, food and water?

      And now you have your answer: Fear mongering, FUD, and and backlash stories like this will blacken the name of 3D printers and the technology will never take off the gro

    • by daid303 (843777)

      1 simple thing. Raw materials.

      I'm a happy owner of a personal 3D printer for the last week and a half. And they are nowhere near perfect yet (I wouldn't be able to print a convincing ATM front replacement) however, they cost electricity and raw quality plastic. So once you get that fusion reactor going, and manage to recycle plastic to the same quality (recycling degrades quality) then we'll be talking.

    • by master_p (608214)

      Interesting question. The comparison with Star Trek is not valid though, because in Star Trek, they have managed to extract incredibly huge amounts of energy from the matter-antimatter reaction, and as we all know energy = matter. In other words, in Star Trek, energy is "infinite", which is not in our world. So, it doesn't really matter if we have 3d printers, we are never gonna achieve Star Trek's communism without huge amounts of energy.

    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      What's the economy of the western world going to look like if the only thing we need is material for 3D printers, power, land, food and water?

      A lot like the U.S. economy now. Manufacturing is reduced to a niche role, making things whose production is hard to automate. Commodities are still produced in large volume by few laborers using lots of automation. Most economic activity will be in services, just like now (but more so). The biggest change will be that all the retail strip malls will close down li

    • by PPH (736903)

      Welcome to fractional reserve banking [wikipedia.org].

    • >What's the economy of the western world going to look like if the only thing we need is material for 3D printers, power, land, food and water? Will provision of the un-replicable become the job of the state?

      For what it's worth, George O. Smith wrote a short scifi story about matter replicators -- essentially 3D printers -- and their effect on the world economy back in 1936, called "Pandora's Millions", that's collected in the excellent hard sci-fi book "Venus Equilateral". He predicts the nearly comple

  • Goin' Digital! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @02:59AM (#37465026)

    I was having a discussion with my daughter (an artist) the other day about protecting her work, and much of what we discussed applies to this technology--when you get right down to it, the moment you convert any product into a digital format, and expose it to the internet in any way, you lose a great deal of control of that creation, if not all.

    This technology is about to do that to physical objects, by proxy--the dimensions are what are actually being digitized. The end result will be the same though--freely available physical products. The only catch is that the user must provide the physical medium...kind of like someone providing a blank CD in order to utilize an MP3 file. I predict that, one day, the king of "most downloaded" torrents will be a 3D printer file for a bong.

    This is the same genie that the recording/electronics industries let out of its bottle about 28 years ago. He appears to be having much adventure and does not wish to return to his bottle. Ever.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      Maybe she could focus less on protecting her work and focus more on marketing her skill. That's taking a strength of the internet and making it her own.

      There was one author (of what type of work, Idk) who posted on here how he GPLed (iirc, otherwise just freewared) all his own work because he got commissioned more work that way. Maybe someone knows who I'm talking about and can provide more info.

      • by biodata (1981610)
        The problem is that this ties you into working forever. The other model (getting people to keep paying for the same thing forever) ensures that you can 'retire' in comfort after a few hits.
        • I don't get to retire from work after doing a few things particularly well. If I did, well I'd probably be retired. There's been a few projects that I've done a really great job getting done despite various things standing in the way and so on. However they don't go and shower millions of dollars on me and say "Go retire at 30!" No, I get paid to show up to work each day and I have to keep showing up, keep doing my job, if I want to keep getting paid.

          Same deal with people who produce physical goods to sell.

        • It also doesn't fund you well enough to do "big" ideas on your own. OTOH something like Kickstarter does give access to this kind of funding as long as it's a Good(TM) idea and either has broad social value or has high niche value social or financial.

    • by matunos (1587263)

      You can watch sports on TV, and many people do, but people still go to the stadiums.

      I can see just about any famous painting I want with a Google Images search, but I still go to museums.

      There's tons of fake designer handbags on the market, but Coach and Burberry still take in a lot of cash.

      Sometimes, there's just no substitute for the real thing.

    • by daid303 (843777)

      I predict that, one day, the king of "most downloaded" torrents will be a 3D printer file for a bong.

      It's named a "coat hook" but... well, judge for yourself http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:10537 [thingiverse.com]

    • by alexo (9335)

      I was having a discussion with my daughter (an artist) the other day about protecting her work, and much of what we discussed applies to this technology--when you get right down to it, the moment you convert any product into a digital format, and expose it to the internet in any way, you lose a great deal of control of that creation, if not all.

      I had lots of discussions with my relatives (all medical doctors who saved many lives and/or improved the quality of life for many others) about their work. Interes

    • I predict that, one day, the king of "most downloaded" torrents will be a 3D printer file for a bong.

      Smoking directly from plastic is a bad idea for obvious reasons, so until we can 3D print glass or metal for the bowl and downstem a 3D printed bong would be incomplete. I know this bit was likely sort of a joke, but I had to say it.

  • by slider2800 (1058930) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @03:27AM (#37465154)

    ...download a car. And print it!

    • by blackicye (760472)

      ...download a car. And print it!

      Until someone who has economies of scale can print the same car at half of the cost of you printing your own.

      • by vlm (69642)

        ...download a car. And print it!

        Until someone who has economies of scale can print the same car at half of the cost of you printing your own.

        Also time. I could print that car, but it would take a month of continuous printing to do it, and I really need to print up some disposable plates, cups, and spoons to eat lunch in a couple hours, so... Some things can't be done as sub assemblies, or require too much skill and talent to assemble, or there is just a fundamental gross bandwidth limit where I need to print 100 pounds of stuff per month to live and I've only got 150 pounds per month of printing bandwidth available so ...

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        Which is exactly how it works right now...
        You could start manufacturing a car right now from raw materials and all the information required to do so is readily available, the only reason people don't do this is because the time, effort and intermediate steps (ie with only raw materials you would first need to manufacture appropriate tools before you even start making vehicle components) that would be required to make a car, mean that the process of building your own car from scratch is not a viable action.

        A

  • How dare they constrain these hard-working job creators with their stifling government regulations!

  • Ban 3D printers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zennyboy (1002544) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @04:14AM (#37465356)

    Used for illegal purposes? BAN 3D PRINTERS. And cassette tapes. And knives!

    Z

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Why would government ban it, if it could just apply a tax and make a profit of illegal use?

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      Why would government ban it, if it could just apply a tax and make a profit of illegal use?
      It's not like this is hurting any of the big corporations, so there's no reason for government to stop it.

  • Pay in Bitcoins!

  • IN YOUR FACE, 3D printer haters! How you like this "trinket," bitches?

  • Why ATM still relies on magnetic strip card...that the data (key) could be easily replicated?

    We have smart card for years, NFC card for years...Couldn't the bank phase out all those magnetic card with NFC one?
    I presume sniffing the NFC air traffic does not compromise the system, of course.

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