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Crooks are selling a skimmer that works on all chip card readers

Maria Korolov | Sept. 1, 2016
Think that your new EMV-compliant chip-reading point of sale terminal will keep crooks from stealing your customer credit card info?

Think that your new EMV-compliant chip-reading point of sale terminal will keep crooks from stealing your customer credit card info?

Think again.

Researchers have spotted a website setting EMV skimmers -- at www.emvskimmer.com, if it hasn't already been taken down -- that claims to sell "the most advanced EMV chip data collector in the world."

And it's a scary piece of equipment.

According to the seller, it's powered by the point of sale terminal, and can hold information on up to 5,000 credit cards in its memory. It can also be used on machines made by Ingenico and Verifone, as well as terminals on gas station pumps, ticket purchase stations, and on small ATMs, specifically those manufactured by Triton.

The primary market for this device is Latin America, according to Andrei Barysevich, director of Eastern European research and analysis at Flashpoint.

The reason is that Latin America, an early adopter of EMV, is still heavily reliant on static data authentication chips, which allow the criminal using it to create usable new chip cards with the data it catches.

The rest of the world uses dynamic data authentication, where the codes sent to the terminal change with every transaction. The criminals can still get the data, but can only use it to create magnetic stripe cards.

"So it's not as scary as it could be," Barysevich said.

In Latin America, the crook can then go into any store with their new chip cards and make purchases.

"The bank will not know that the card has been stolen and that someone is attempting to use it illegitimately," he said.

Elsewhere in the world, if the crook uses the data to create new magnetic stripe cards and uses them in a store that has chip card readers, some banks will let the purchase go through, others will stop the transaction because they know that the card is supposed to be a chip card, and some will flag it as a potential risk.

"And if they know you used your card in New York and two hours later someone swiped the card in California, it's a good indication that the card has been compromised," he said.

But the U.S. is currently lagging behind on its EMV migration.

That means that a crook can install the skimmer at a location that is already accepting chip cards, collect the numbers, create magnetic stripe cards, then go across the street to a big electronics retailer that hasn't switched over yet and use the magnetic stripe cards to make big purchases.

The skimmer is also easy for the criminal to use and hard for a merchant to spot, said Barysevich.

 

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