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One has to appreciate the ingenuity displayed by a recent gang of miscreants who used 3D printers to make ATM skimmers. For those of you who have never participated in larceny or watched much MTV the typical (shall we say, primitive?) method of creating skimmers is explained.

“Many… ATM skimmers… are carefully hand-made and crafted to blend in with the targeted cash machine in both form and paint color. Some skimmer makers even ask customers for a photo of the targeted cash machine before beginning their work. The skimmer components typically include a card skimmer that fits over the card acceptance slot and steals the data stored on the card’s magnetic stripe, and a pinhole camera built into a false panel that thieves can fit above or beside the PIN pad. If these components don’t match just-so, they’re more likely to be discovered and removed by customers or bank personnel, leaving the thieves without their stolen card data …skimmer kits aren’t cheap: They range from $2,000 to more than $10,000 per kit.” – Krebsonsecurity.com

So, not only does this antiquated way of producing a criminal ruse involve much time and a certain artistic flair… it’s pricey; which leads to a lower profit margin considering the possible punitive consequences of larceny one is willing to accept. That was then. This, my aspiring young tech savvy and design oriented criminals, is the 21st century. 3D printers are the future…well…the present of clever criminal activity. While a would-be thief used to have to invest in a ski mask and put in several hard nights work to raise the $10k for a single kit; now he could conceivably get on kickstarter and “legitimately” raise the funds for an equally expensive 3D printer that has the potential to make a skimmer for every ATM in your unsuspectingly naive town.

“Just looking at the idea of 3D printing a potential skimming device, a criminal could invest in buying a desktop 3D printer,” De Schouwer wrote in an email to KrebsOnSecurity. “Not a kit printer in the line of a Makerbot or a RepMan but a desktop printer of a high end manufacturer of 3D printers like Objet, 3D Systems or Stratasys (HP). You could get one of those between $10,000 – $20,000 and they will print a high quality skimming device that, including some post finishing, will look like the real thing.”

Why spend all that capital on you own 3D printer when there are so many helpful 3D printing services available online, you ask? Apparently, these industrious scoundrels had the same idea that your own twisted brain noodles steamed up and attempted to have a skimmer made by i.materialise. Fortunately for the citizens of… wherever… the gumshoes at i.materialise were hip to their game and put a stop on the order. Good work i.materialise.

via krebsonsecurity


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.