It goes without saying that protecting the world of finance is a difficult job, as there are so many different possible attack vectors to take into consideration. One of the most recent – and worrying – trends is the increase in skimming attacks on ATMs. Bitcoin ATMs, on the other hand, are not subject to these attacks, as there are no physical cards involved in the process.
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ATM Skimming Reaches Worrying Levels
The act of skimming ATMs is quite difficult to pull off, as it involves installing a separate card reader within the ATM itself. However, it looks like this type of attack has been evolving in recent months, as one European country reported the successful usage of a stereo-skimming device, which is a first for the SEPA zone.
The recently released European Fraud Update for 2015 also mentions how a total of seventeen different countries reported acts of card skimming at ATMs. It goes without saying this is a very worrying trend, although card issuers are doing everything they can to reduce the chances of making an unauthorized payment after obtaining someone’s card details.
To make matters even worse, a total of 53 countries outside Single Euro Payments Area, as well as ten countries within the SEPA zone, reported losses due to skimming occurring outside of EMV chip liability. The United States reported the biggest losses, followed closely by The Philippines and Indonesia.
But skimming attempts are not just targeting ATMs, as this type of attack is being made against other terminal types as well. A total of nine countries reported these incidents. One report even went as far as tracing the skimming attempts back to a terminal linked to docking stations for hiring bicycles.
One trend that does seem to be going down is the malware attack against ATM devices. According to the latest report, only two countries reported this type of incident, but no word was given on how successful the attempts have been. Both countries making notice of malware attacks mentioned how the attempts were labeled as “cash-out” attacks.
Is It Time to Stop Using Physical Card Payments?
Reports like these clearly show how insecure card transactions still are to this very day, despite measures being taken by card issuers. There is very little that can be done to prevent card skimming, other than moving to a completely digital form of payments altogether.
Various mobile payment solutions have been working on making card payments digital. However, that growth is hindered due to regulations, getting approval from banks, and gaining a critical user base. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is in a prime position to take over as the leading digital payment option in the world.
Unlike plastic cards, Bitcoin can not be skimmed, as there is no physical payment method involved. Bitcoin payments are made in a digital form, and can be sent from any type of device to anyone in the world. Every transaction takes a few seconds to complete, and low transaction fees make Bitcoin far more superior compared to traditional payments.
Source: European ATM Security