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ATM Skimmers: Hacking the Cash Machine
Author: Brian Krebs
Most of the ATM skimmers I’ve profiled in this blog are comprised of parts designed to mimic and to fit on top of existing cash machine components, such as card acceptance slots or PIN pads. But sometimes, skimmer thieves find success by swapping out ATM parts with compromised look-alikes.

All About Skimmers

Author: Brian Krebs
The series I’ve written about ATM skimmers, gas pump skimmers and other related fraud devices have become by far the most-read posts on this blog. I put this gallery together to showcase the entire series, and to give others a handy place to reference all of these stories in one place.

Date: 2011-04-13 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Criminals generally have a reputation for being stupid, and there are countless supporting anecdotes to back up that assumption (q.v.: Jay Leno, etc.), but my own theory is more nuanced. I assume that there will be some idiots in every line of work, and therefore many more in unregulated areas such as crime, especially at the lower levels. (All the famous 'dumb criminal' accounts are about petty crimes, never about plausible would-be supervillains.) Above that, though, criminals who appear to be dumb are, on closer examination, often pretty clever -- just remarkably short-sighted, or sometimes just highly impractical.

Think about it. If a guy can hack an ATM well enough to fool most users, doesn't it follow that he possesses professional-grade skills he could use to earn a comfortable legitimate living with none of the stress or risk of crime? I've always been content with making less than bank robbers or drug dealers could, on the knowledge that I'll probably never get gunned down on the job or go to jail because of my work. Many criminals who seem otherwise very clever seem to just never connect those dots somehow, though there's every bit of evidence that they should be able to.

I guess it must be some kind of pathology, like gambling addiction. Many habit gamblers are also very shrewd. Just not quite shrewd enough. Or perhaps they just can't fight the urge to not do what some part of them must be screaming is wrong and stupid and bad. How else can we explain scams like this?


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