Caution - Heat Traces at the ATM

Posted by M ws On Friday, September 2, 2011 7 comments
According to THIS REPORT, researchers have discovered that fraudsters can work out your PIN by the heat traces your fingers leave on a cash machine.

Some 80 per cent of the time, scientists were able to correctly identify the four-digit code using an infrared scanner on the ATM.

Even a full minute later the camera was able to show clearly which numbers had been pressed, giving a fraudster ample time to get what they needed.


7 comments to Caution - Heat Traces at the ATM

  1. says:

    CLY Whoa. In addtion to shielding our pin number to prying eyes, now we would have to key in our pin number using a pencil(the type with an eraser) or with our finger padded with tissue, to avoid leaving tell-tale heat trails?
    Maybe bank can come up with finger-print reader for the ATM machine? Thumb print instead of pin number.

  1. says:

    bayi It's quite logical that this can be done but the thought of it is scary. I think it works in places where the ATMs are isolated and the criminals are able to get to the machines after you have used it and before the next user gets to it. That should give us an idea how to protect our PINs.

  1. says:


    Many countries around the world are still using "magnetic stripe" instead of smartchip as we are now using. Cards encoded with magstripe is easy to read and reclone. A clonecard can be done within minutes and all they have to do next is to capture the pin numbers of their intended victims.

    If you all remember the days of ATMs' clonecard theft in the mid-90s' where our local pros using wireless camera fitted above the pinpad and hidden inside the lighting box. And another card capturing device outside the card reader entry point.

    Anyone that inserts their ATM card into the machine for cash withdrawal will automatically have their magnetic card info rely to those fraudsters sitting inside their cars with laptop to capture both magstripe info as well as pin numbers when you keyin at the pinpad since the wireless camera can capture every finger movement.

    With both pin numbers and card info, they will clone the user's card and soon will check on account concern. If found to be of high value, they will plan a weekend to withdraw as much as they can before those account owners will report the theft on a working day.

    We are glad that Malaysia is one of the first in the world to embrace SmartCard with chipset and it is difficult to clone a smartcard at this juncture except MyKad due to internal issue.

  1. says:

    Bunny just press all the numbers after you've completed your transaction.

  1. says:

    Little Corgi Bunny, that's a good one!

    I usually burn the booth to the ground after each transaction.

  1. says:

    frags Yeah just place your palm over the screen after transaction. That should mask any trace.

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear CLY, bayi, ahoo, Bunny and Little Corgi

    Thanks to all of you for your interesting and enlightening comments in response to this post. Your input is so interesting and I have enjoyed reading every single one of your responses which have certainly broadened the scope of the original article.

    I am so amazed by the length and breadth of your knowledge and am thankful to each one of you for having taken the time to share your thoughts here.

    Take care and please keep in touch.

    Best wishes

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