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By Lumistar's Chief Scientist

September 15, 2013

Thermal Imaging Allows ATM Theft From A Distance

Lumistar; ATM Keypad Thermal Imaging

Researchers have learned a new way thieves can steal ATM information – using thermal infrared cameras to reveal the user’s PIN. Traditionally thieves use an illegal card skimmer attached to an ATM in conjunction with a video camera. The researchers found using their thermal camera’s software it performed more accurately predicting one’s PIN, in chronological order in some cases, than humans in their study looking at video much like the thieves. Researchers detected PINs with approximately 80% accuracy 10 seconds after the person entered their PIN. Forty-five seconds after being pressed the thermal cameras were still able to determine PINs with a 60% accuracy. Non-thermal cameras used in ATM skimming attacks won’t get the job done if the target is blocking the view of the thieves’ hidden video camera using their forearm or hand, for example. Of course thermal cameras overcome this obstacle because its capturing an echo in time, capturing the person’s left over heat on the keys shortly after the target has left. Keep in mind this discovery also applies to other keypads such as access to secure office buildings and digital safes. One good piece of news the researchers found: while plastic PIN pads with rubber keys are a jackpot for potential thieves, on the other hand, metal PIN pads made thermal detection attacks almost impossible because they retain heat for only a few seconds due to their high conductivity. The researchers said one way to combat the heat transfer of plastic/rubber keys is to place your hand over the entire keyboard to warm all the keys – if you can handle the germs lol.

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  1. I really like your site. 🙂

    Comment by JD Y. — September 15, 2013 @ 10:10


  3. I really like your blog! More Info!

    Comment by seovps — September 20, 2013 @ 23:57


  5. Wow, very compelling…at least for me anyway. I mean seriously.

    Comment by Cher B. — September 28, 2013 @ 13:59


  7. I genuinely enjoy reading through on this web site, it contains excellent blog posts. “Never fight an inanimate object.” by P. J. O’Rourke.

    Comment by sneakerhead — September 29, 2013 @ 17:11


  9. Give people a stylish place to put their valuables or cash, that’s non-conductive of course.

    Comment by RepRep — October 1, 2013 @ 02:03


  11. Be careful where you put your life savings.

    Comment by RCYoutlet — October 1, 2013 @ 02:04


  13. This maybe of assistance, but you nowadays have to really position it to get a good view with the imager.

    Comment by EXDawwn — October 10, 2013 @ 18:04


  15. Google just changed!! Check your rank.

    Comment by seomav — October 10, 2013 @ 18:28


  17. These cameras are ideal to put on the back of a van or “golf cart”.

    Comment by FXConjugate — October 11, 2013 @ 08:16


  19. @EXDawwn, Budget will necessarily constrain your choices somewhat, but you can reduce the cost in various ways.

    Comment by F12 — October 12, 2013 @ 17:14


  21. I have a friend name Patrick whose heard of this in Britian.

    Comment by WholeCheap — October 16, 2013 @ 18:04


  23. Simply choose the nearest ATM near you, that is close, as in proximity.

    Comment by Replica — October 16, 2013 @ 18:04


  25. What’s next? Will they use thermal to steal my Rolex? lol

    Comment by 007Shredding — October 17, 2013 @ 00:05


  27. Write more, that’s all I have to say. Literally, you definitely know what you’re talking about.

    Comment by JumpStart — October 19, 2013 @ 19:28


  29. I will right away get your rss. Thanks.

    Comment by Biz — December 4, 2013 @ 22:32


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    Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks

    Comment by TuberT — February 11, 2014 @ 15:40


  33. @TubberT Thanks!

    Comment by Lumistar — February 12, 2014 @ 04:31


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