Financial institutions prevent ATM hacking through numerous measures. This can include changing default administrator passwords and by regularly inspecting ATMs for fraudulent devices designed to capture customer information. Other security measures such as well-lit locations and cameras help, too. Customers can further prevent ATM hacking by being aware of surroundings and refusing to use an ATM if it seems suspicious.
ATMs (automated teller machines) are convenient for bank customers, but they are also becoming convenient places for thieves to collect customer bank card information for identity theft crimes. Most ATM hacking happens when a thief installs a portable card reader and camera on an ATM or peeks when the customer enters passwords.
Some ATM hackers insert a card reader into the ATM card reader and mount a tiny camera behind the security mirror. They gather card information from the magnetic strip on the card when the customer inserts an ATM card into the false front card slot. ATM hackers gather password information through a hidden pinhole camera pointed at the keypad. Some thieves bypass the camera and install an overlay on the keypad that transmits punched numbers to a laptop or Bluetooth.
Before using an ATM, customers should check for any loose parts on the console, false fronts, or anything that looks out of place. Many false front card readers match the ATM and are nearly undetectable. The card should slide easily into the card reader, and resistance could indicate a portable reader. If the ATM seems suspicious, it should be reported to the bank manager.
Banks are taking action against ATM hacking by installing anti-skimmers. These devices emit an electromagnetic field that blocks the fraudulent card reader signal so the thief cannot collect card information. Anti-skimmer sensors detect foreign objects mounted to the ATM and trigger a silent alarm.
ATM hackers may bypass skimming customer information by hacking the machine itself. A thief who gains access to the administrative password may program the machine to dispense $20 bills when it thinks it is dispensing $5 bills. Banks can prevent ATM hacking by changing the default password in new ATM machines to prevent criminals from guessing the password.
The safest ATMs are in well-lit, heavily populated areas, or in stores where crowds make it harder for thieves to install skimming devices without being detected. Customers should always check for bystanders when withdrawing money and shield the keypad when entering password information. ATM users should always check bank statements carefully and question unfamiliar charges.