3DP Applications

Australian ATMs Allegedly Under Attack by Criminals Using 3D Printers

News coming out of Australia suggests that 3D printing has, once again, found itself embroiled in negative, rather unsavoury publicity courtesy of criminal activity with the tech. It’s not the g-word this time though. Rather, New South Wales police have reportedly arrested an individual and charged him with fraud associated with skimming ATM machines in Sydney, Australia.

While the problem of ATM skimming is a global one with banks and fraud squads facing ever more sophisticated methods, this particular case sees 3D printing entering the fray, together with CAD design software. These tools have allegedly been used to design and produce new types of ATM skimming equipment, specific to the type of ATM being targeted and that is also smaller and entirely self-contained compared with older methods.

Commander of the NSW Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, Detective Superintendent Col Dyson, told iTnews: “These devices are actually manufactured for specific models of ATMs so they fit better and can’t be detected as easily. Parts of the devices are internally fitted, either by the offenders moving part of the slot and replacing it with their own, and pushing circuitry into the machines. [Another model] is so small it’s entirely self-contained and entirely pushed in, with some force, into the card slot.” 

Accompanied by a video camera above the skimmer itself, the equipment allows the perpetrators access to both the card details and the PIN number, which provide them with the means to steal funds from the victims account, either directly or for scam purchases.

According to DSC Dyson: “Previous devices have always had wires hanging off them. One of the ones used now does have wires hanging off it, that’s because of the design of the ATM. But the smallest one is quite impressive in that it is contained within a resin block and sealed.”

This means that it is “difficult if not impossible to tell if an ATM has a skimming device attached,” according to Dyson said. His advice, therefore, is ALWAYS to simply to cover the keypad as the pin number is entered.

DSC Dyson also referred to the ongoing war with skimmers and the people behind them. The anti-fraud squad is constantly developing new methods to defeat the devices while criminals figured out how to thwart them. This reflects my own thoughts on this matter, which I have expounded in previous stories about 3D printing being used for criminal activities, and that is that 3D printing is a new tool for making things, and therefore a potentially new way for people to break the law, IF they are that way inclined. 3D printing does not make new criminals, it just puts a new tool in their toolbox.

The war between right and wrong has existed since the dawn of time, which side you choose to be associated with is down to people NOT the technology they choose to use.

Source: IT News, Australia