New Take On Stealing ATM PIN Numbers

thermalRon Benvenist. Thermal cameras are the new rage for stealing your ATM PIN number. The technology is called FLIR (Forward Looking Infra-Red) and is commonly used in night vision applications and inspecting homes for moisture problems.

Using a thermal camera it is easy to figure out the set of numbers in a pin and oftentimes get the correct numerical order too.

How Easy Is This?

You can rent a thermal camera at Home Depot! But the good news is: I’m going to tell you how to defeat it!!! But first the research:

Researchers from UCSD pointed thermal cameras towards plastic ATM PIN pads and metal ATM PIN pads to test how effective they were at stealing PIN numbers. The thermal cams didn’t work against metal pads but on plastic pads the success rate of detecting all the digits was 80% after 10 seconds and 60% after 45 seconds. For your average ATM trip, that’s a wide window of opportunity and an very high success rate for thieves to take advantage of.

The research shows that thermal cameras are better at stealing PIN numbers than video cameras because they work even when a person shields their hand.

How It Works and How to Beat It:

The person’s body temperature, the strength of the button presses and the length of the press all helped thermal cams figure out the person’s PIN and sequence. Before criminals and thieves realize how awesome thermal cams can be for their line of work, it’s very easy to foil their evil plans!

All you have to do is place your fingers on keys OTHER than your PIN number before you actually enter your REAL PIN number. Don’t press on the fake keys, just gently rub your fingers across them to fool the thermal camera and then enter your real PIN with gentle but quick presses.

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  1. @1: That’s another article! Basically since around 2006 cards use something called RFID (sort of like the way EZ-Pass works) that transmits your CC number and other information. Crooks use inexpensive equipment to read the RFID info from a distance, run it through downloadable software and put it into a blank card’s mag stripe. The card can have Bugs Bunny’s name on it… the RFID and magstripe reader don’t care about the plastic – it doesn’t even need numbers on it. This will work on ATMs or any magnetic scanner that requires the PIN.

    Please Note: If my comment is moderated or certain articles are not published…

    TLS is concerned that the crooks will learn stuff when I post too much info. The crooks are way ahead of us. That’s what we get for sending our IT stuff overseas to be done by Foreign Nationals who come from countries with Nuclear Capabilities and giving H1B visas and scholarships to them to work over here. I told TLS they can screen my posts with LPD or the OC Cyber-Crime Unit first.

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