Bluetooth card skimmers continue to be one of the
In recent years, law enforcement reported many cases of gas stations where cyber criminals have installed Bluetooth card skimmers.
In 2014, a criminal organization hit gas station ATMs located in South America using Bluetooth-enabled skimmers
The Bluetooth card
The skimmers are usually installed internally ATMs and were not detectable by visual inspection, criminals used Bluetooth channel to receive the stolen card information.
The devices could capture payment card information, including credit card holder’s card number, expiration date, and the full name.
Crooks are installing Bluetooth card skimmers at gas pumps
The good news is that a team of researchers from UC San Diego and the University of Illinois has developed a mobile app, named Bluetana, that allows state and federal inspectors, and customers at gas pumps, to detect Bluetooth card skimmers installed by crooks.
The Bluetana app scans Classic and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) nearby Bluetooth devices every 5 seconds using Android’s Bluetooth API. When a potential skimmer is detected by the app the users
“The app, called Bluetana, detects the Bluetooth signature of the skimmers, and allows inspectors to find the devices without needing to open up the gas pumps.” reads the post published by the researchers.
Below the procedure implemented by the researchers:
According to the researchers, it will not be available to the general public, currently, the Android app used by agencies in several US states.
The Bluetana is very effective, it was able to detect two skimmers that were installed in gas pumps and that were not discovered for six months.
“We equipped 44 volunteers in six U.S.
“In these scans, Bluetana detected a total of 64 skimmers installed at gas stations in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Maryland, and it was the sole source of information that led law enforcement to find 33 skimmers.”
The results of the tests conducted by the experts are excellent, the median time to detect Bluetooth card skimmers was 3 seconds, and 80% of the skimmers were detected within one minute.
This represents a 99% decrease in search time compared to the average of 30 minutes that inspectors take to check a gas pump station for skimmers.
“As new skimmer detection tools gain popularity, criminals will adapt skimming designs to evade detection. We expect future skimmers will use techniques