Identity Theft Expert Robert Siciliano

Criminal hackers hacked hackers at the annual Defcon conference in Las Vegas. Defcon is a conference of hackers of all breeds. Hackers come in white, black, grey and law enforcement. That’s the Good, Bad, Bi-Hacker and Government. People of all kinds with an intuitive sense for technology and inventiveness descend on Las Vegas to learn and explore and…hack.

At this years Defcon someone planted a real rigged malicious ATM right outside the security office of the Riviera Hotel and Casino. For whatever reasons the area outside the security office doesn’t have any security cameras, which made it a nice place to pull off a scam.

Las Vegas scams like this are common due to the transient nature of the place along with the 24 hour intake of life in the fast-lane. Everyone is looking for a quick buck and what better place to pull off an ATM scam than Vegas.

ATM skimming comes in 2 flavors. 1. A hardware device known as a “skimmer” is placed on the face of an operational ATM and the data on the card is read along with the pass word, which is extracted via a small camera or electronic pad. In this case money is often dispensed. 2. An ATM is purchased from eBay or anywhere else old ATMs are bought. This real rigged machine is then placed in a public area and is semi operational. It works to the point where it gathers all your data, but never dispenses any cash. This is what happened is Las Vegas.

A conference attendee, a hacker, who used the machine, discovered the first sign of skimming when he was told by the machine that an error had occurred. Upon further investigation it was discovered that where there was supposed to be a security camera, there was instead a computer recording all the victims details. That’s when the alarm was sounded and the area became a crime scene. Nice.

How to protect yourself;

First and foremost; Pay attention to your statements as often as possible. Consider never using a debit card again. Just use a credit card. Refute unauthorized transactions within a 1-60 day time frame.

1. Pay close attention to everything you do at an ATM. Look for “red flags”, anything out of place. If your card sticks, odd looking configurations on the ATM, wires, two sided tape, errors, a missing security camera, an old looking machine etc.
2. Use strong PINs, uppercase lower case, alpha and numeric online.
3. Don’t just use “any” ATM. Choose ATMs at locations that are “more secure” than in the middle of no-where. Outside the security office isn’t exactly the middle of no-where, so be alert.
4. Invest in Intelius identity theft protection and prevention. Because when all else fails its good to have someone watching your back.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing ATM skimming

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