Sri Lanka isn’t slow to the hacking game. Alongside the rest of the world, Sri Lankan ATMS and its customers are victims to what the Cyber Security world likes to call, ATM Skimming. Heard about it?
Even if you’ve heard about it, you most definitely aren’t going to notice it happening, even to you! Criminals use devices smaller than a deck of cards to scan and capture data from the magnetic stripe on the back of your ATM card. Just a few days ago, it was reported that several unauthorized cash withdrawals occurred at ATMS around Colombo!
A quick google search will tell you how readily available these devices are. Your friendly neighborhood “Alibaba” and “Ali Express” are ready to sell anyone with enough money an ATM Skimmer. It could be anyone, in any place, at any time, who places an ATM Skimmer that may capture your card.
Your usual suspect would come around in the early mornings, or late evenings, whenever the ATMS are deserted and place the Skimming device. A device is usually attached for around 24 hours, not more, and the criminal might hang around to observe customers and recover their equipment.
Now the informed eye however, can notice when somethings up. Key spots to check out for tampering devices are the “Light Diffuser Area”, “Speaker Area”, “ATM Side Fascia”, “Card Reader Entry Slot” and the “Keyboard Area”.
Sadly, this isn’t where criminals decide to draw the line. You’ve got strategically positioned cameras that capture your pin number, skimmer plates that act like an existing keyboard and capture your pin number and all sorts of other devices that are designed to make your life difficult.
“Remember to keep a watchful eye on where you hand out your card. If the credit card scanner at certain shops look different, you might want to take the cash option instead. The machine could be collecting your credit card information. Be on the lookout for even minor unusual activities on your card. This could go a long way in preventing major thefts.”
ATM Skimming and Pin Capturing are a few ways in which the financial sector has been compromised. However, it should be kept in mind that these threats are the tamer ones out there. If informed, you and I can spot these threats and prevent an outcome. But every day, the financial world is under attack from cyber-attacks. Attacks that cannot be seen physically.
The World Economic Forum lists Cyber-attacks amongst the top 5 likely global threats in 2019. It was also in the top 10 on the impact list. The threat is real, the likelihood is real, and the impact is massive.
It’s 2019, and you need to be protected from Cyber-crimes, a very real and dangerous threat.