Thursday, 22 September 2011

Now you can print out an ATM skimming device!

According to the blog 'KrebsonSecurity' a gang involved in skimming in the U.S. stole more than US$400,000 using skimming devices built with the help of high-tech 3D printers.  Is it possible to print out a workable skimming device??  Apparently it is.  3D printers take two dimensional computer images and build them into three dimensional items by putting down successive layers of powder that are heated, shaped and hardened.  The video below from 3D printing company i-materialise clearly shows how this is done.

According to Brian Krebs "word is spreading in the cybercrime underworld that 3D printers produce flawless skimmer devices with exacting precision. Last year, i-materialise blogged about receiving a clients order for building a card skimmer. The company said it denied the request when it became clear the ordered product was a fraud device."

Apparently a Federal court case is on-going in the U.S. with four men on trial for re-investing the profits from skimming crime to purchase a 3D printer.  These printers are not cheap and can cost from US$10,000 to US$20,000.

Blog view:  While this does appear to be one way to get a skimming device, the 3D printing technology is not cheap.  It is known that basic skimming devices can be obtained over the internet for just a few hundred US dollars, with more expensive USB, Bluetooth or GSM variants available for a wide variety of ATM models and types (these are in the approximate price range of US$2,500 to US$4,000 and kits are also available that include PIN pads and some blank cards).  Why would a criminal invest in such a piece of expensive 3D technology (which might not always create a perfect device and would always be at risk of seizure), when the ready made items can be easily purchased?  There must also be costs associated with designing each skimming device variant and with putting together the required two-dimensional drawings.  But for those illegally selling skimmers this might be a new way to produce them................ 

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