Vulnerability Management

Making it rain in the desert: ‘Shimming’ demo makes next-generation ATM spit out cash

There would be a lot more happy-go-lucky gamblers in Vegas if ATMs would spit out hundreds of dollars the way Rapid7 senior security engineer Weston Hecker made one do in a demonstration at Black Hat that showed new EMV chip technology is not hack-proof.

While next-generation ATMs that accept chip cards are not susceptible to skimmers like their traditional magnetic stripe card counterparts, they are vulnerable to shimmers, a new breed of device – in Rapid7's case powered by a Raspberry Pi – that hides in a tampered ATM's card slot and silently intercepts data from withdrawal requests.

The user's information, including PIN code, is captured and can be used later to virtually recreate that person's card, allowing attackers to command a chosen ATM machine to spit out money automatically for collection. According to Rapid7, the method it employed can remove anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 in 15 minutes.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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