Feeds

UK fraudster gang go PIN sniffing

Portsmouth Asda links to credit card hack

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Analysis The organised tampering of PIN entry devices to commit credit card fraud, which led to arrests in Birmingham last week, has been linked to a breach in an Asda store on the outskirts of Portsmouth.

Cash was withdrawn from ATMs in China and Canada after the cards were used in the Gosport branch of Asda, Register sources confirmed.

Margaret Galea, 66, was one of the Barclays customers hit by the scam, which involved creating counterfeit cards and tampering with PIN entry terminals to capture and relay details to cybercriminals. Galea and fellow victim Deborah Gibbs, 48, each had around £1,000 taken from their accounts as a result of the scam. Barclays spokesman Danny Reardon told the Portsmouth News that 20 customers had lost money.

Arrests of the two suspects last week are part of an investigation into the tampering of PIN entry devices. Recent posts in underground forums have offered information on how to tamper with PIN entry devices, including schematics and a specialist Bluetooth transmitter and associated software for $4,000, net security firm PrevX reports.

It's likely that a network of cybercriminals has adopted the tactic, though how commonplace its use is remains unclear.

PED internals

Cambridge University research lifted the lid on PIN Terminal insecurity

Concerns about the security of chip and PIN surfaced after Shell temporarily withdrew the authorisation method in May 2006. These worries were underlined by research by Cambridge University, published in February 2008, which discovered a lack of encryption in the data exchanged between PIN entry devices and cards during transactions.

After tampering with vulnerable devices cybercrooks harvested card details and PIN numbers; this data can be used in counterfeit cards to make withdrawals at foreign ATMs that only check details on easily forged magnetic strips.

Hacking Chip and PIN readers in this way is somewhat involved. The line from banking industry associations such as APACS is that there are easier, more cost-effective methods to extract the same information.

APACS maintains that Chip and PIN is the safest method of payment for goods and services. It points out that fraud on the High Street has steadily reduced since Chip and PIN's roll-out in 2005. However, figures from APACS show that online fraud (which is outside the scope of Chip and PIN), and more recently fraud abroad, have steadily increased.

APACS states that victims of PIN tampering attacks can rely on the banking code to refund them for losses. In these circumstances, customers' PIN numbers have been used to complete transactions. So unless a pattern of fraud is apparent, customers may have their work cut out to convince banks they have been careful in not disclosing their PIN when they come to contest "phantom withdrawals".

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.