20 May 2013

Jailed Hacker Invents Anti-Skimming ATM Device

An imprisoned hacker designed an anti-skimming ATM device together with two other inventors, according to Reuters. Romanian 33-year-old Valentin Boanta developed the Secure Revolving System to change the way ATMs read bank cards and prevent hidden skimming devices from stealing clients’ personal information. The Romanian has been serving a five-year jail sentence for bank card fraud since 2009.

“When I got caught I became happy,” Valentin Boanta told Reuters. “This liberation opened the way to working for the good side. Crime was like a drug for me. After I was caught, I was happy I escaped from this adrenaline addiction.”

The device can be attached to any current ATM machine. Because it requires clients to insert the card widthwise and then rotate it, cyber-criminals would use skimmers with no result.

“I've seen many different ATMs, they have ageing designs so they are prone to vulnerability, they are a very weak side of the banking industry,” Boanta said. “Every ATM can be penetrated through a skimming crime. My security solution, SRS, makes an ATM unbreachable.”

The Secure Revolving System has been patented, being manufactured by Romania's MB Telecom. Last year, hackers from the ex-communist country grabbed about $1 billion from US accounts, according to the American embassy in Bucharest.