ATM Skimming remains one of the most dangerous threats to consumerism all over the world. Bitcoin effectively removes the need for cards and ATMs altogether, and Bitcoin debit cards should only be seen as a temporary measure to spend cryptocurrency.
Also read: Australian bitcoin exchanges announce Ethereum support
ATM Skimming is a Global Threat
A recent article on KrebsonSecurity showcases a video of how an ATM skimmer works in real life. These small devices are usually hidden within a cash machine’s slot where consumers insert their cards. As long as the skimmer is present, they can read all of the information stored on the card, including the magnetic stripe on the back.
Deep insert skimmers are becoming the new norm in this illegal circuit. What makes these devices even more dangerous than ordinary skimming hardware is how they are a lot smaller, and can be inserted much deeper into the machine. Consumers would not even notice the device being there, especially when considering how these devices sit right on top of the magnetic stripe reader.
To make matters even worse, ATM skimmers can be purchased freely on the Internet, including the necessary tools to install them. These tools let criminals both install and retrieve the deep insert skimmer from the device. However, every kit seems to come with different tools, which is rather intriguing.
Criminals are flocking to skimming ATMs as they can use the retrieved card information to make identical clones, called “dumps.” Although a skimmer does not collect the PIN code associated with the card, hackers usually install a fake keypad or a hidden camera on the ATM as well. In the end, there are many different ways to obtain customer card information, without them even realizing it.
Bitcoin debit cards are vulnerable to ATM skimming as well. Though most of these cards have a pre-funded balance, rather than being linked to a Bitcoin address, a hacker could still empty the balance since these cards still rely on conventional security methods.
Bitcoin Doesn’t Need Cards or ATMs
While some people may argue spending Bitcoin in its natural form is rather difficult, debit cards are not the answer. Granted, they add convenience, as it allows users to spend Bitcoin wherever card payments are accepted. But at the same time, they still link to a bank account, removing a portion of the financial freedom provided by Bitcoin.
Moreover, there is no need for traditional bank ATMs when dealing with Bitcoin. Since cryptocurrency is not controlled nor issued by a bank, manufacturers have built their own Bitcoin ATMs for buying and selling purposes. There are no card slots, as these machines only deal with cash. Every transaction also requires some form of user identification, through a mobile phone number or an ID scan.
What are your thoughts on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency debit cards? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Krebs On Security
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, KrebsOnSecurity