Credit Card Skimmers Become Chip ‘Shimmers’

Feb. 6, 2017  |  By Chris M. Roberts

The unauthorized disclosure of individual consumer financial information has been, and continues to be, a priority security concern for commercial enterprises. While the majority of recently published news articles revolve around large financial database breaches through sophisticated software and network malware attacks, in reality, a significant portion of credit card information theft still originates from physical security breaches of various credit card readers through the use of skimmer technology.  Doing a simple Google search for “credit card skimmer” reveals news articles written almost daily about the discovery of a skimmer.

IISP Analyst Chris M. Roberts: "Now, there are new devices, dubbed ‘shimmers’, which are being used to steal personal information from chip-enabled credit cards. Security is a never-ending game of cat and mouse. Credit card skimmers have been around almost as long as credit card readers themselves. During that time, they became more technologically advanced, while still managing to reduce their physical footprint. This reality, coupled with the fact that credit cards continue to store unencrypted personal data, continues to be the source of a significant portion of consumer financial fraud.  Skimmers (and shimmers) are easy to obtain, cheap to procure, nearly naked to the human eye, and extract the stolen data wirelessly -- reducing the chances of being caught. Credit card companies have been fighting back by adding EMV microprocessor chips to the cards to allow for enabling dynamic authentication. While this technology is a vast improvement, it has not stopped criminals from attempting to steal information. In many cases, your best protection is awareness. Always keep an eye out for something that looks or feels different when using your credit card, or just use cash."


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