Do you know enough about ATM skimming? Learn more from Fiscal the Fraud Fighting Ferret!

Filed Under: Featured, Law & order

Long-term readers of Naked Security will know that the techies at Sophos Australia are big fans of the Queensland Police Service (QPS).

Over the past few years, QPS has engaged strongly with the community and with industry to take on cybercrime and cybercriminals, both in Australia and around the globe, winning national awards in the process.

They've made a real effort on a number of issues that go well beyond simple law enforcement, trying to try to raise awareness of cybercrime, to improve security practices amongst consumers, and to bring vendors, service providers and investigators together at regular seminars to work out how to cooperate productively against the Bad Guys.

The Queensland cybercops have also come up with a cute educational mascot, Fiscal the Fraud Fighting Ferret, who appears in a range of straight-talking animated cybercrime awareness videos made by the team.

The latest Fiscal video is particularly timely for Naked Security, as it deals with ATM skimming, a topic about which my colleague Chester Wisniewski wrote just the other day.

What surprised me about Chester's article was the number of people who wrote to us afterwards, convinced that ATM skimmers could catch your PIN on camera but would need to rob you face-to-face to get your card.

But they don't need to be near the cash machine whilst they're harvesting your data. Copying the data off the magstripe on your card is surprisingly easy, using a miniaturised card reader called a skimmer fitted over the front of the card slot. Clearly, ATM skimming is not well-enough understood.

So here's an explanation of why and how to be on your guard when you're using a cash machine. It doesn't assume you're a computer expert, it doesn't talk down to you, it's easy to understand, and it's narrated by a Fraud Fighting Ferret!


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As Fiscal the Fraud Fighting Ferret concludes, "Education and awareness are the best fraud prevention weapons we have."

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5 Responses to Do you know enough about ATM skimming? Learn more from Fiscal the Fraud Fighting Ferret!

  1. Isn't it suspecious to go wiggling the card entry device and keypad. The bank would think you are tempering with it...

  2. whatsaysyou · 1126 days ago

    Great post about the issue of atm skimming. Keep it up

  3. Richard · 1126 days ago

    If you miss any of these increasingly-hard-to-spot devices, don't expect your bank to help recover your money. After all, it's clearly your fault - you must have given your card and pin number to the crook, because the bank's systems are infallible!

  4. madoff · 1124 days ago

    Kool where can I get one for real lol

    • Paul Ducklin · 1124 days ago

      Ironically, if you live in Queensland, you can't. Ferrets - and rabbits, for that matter - are classified as prohibited pets in QLD, even though they're legal in the neighbouring states of New South Wales and South Australia.

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About the author

Paul Ducklin is a passionate security proselytiser. (That's like an evangelist, but more so!) He lives and breathes computer security, and would be happy for you to do so, too. Paul won the inaugural AusCERT Director's Award for Individual Excellence in Computer Security in 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @duckblog