Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

Skimmer Scanner app for android

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

Real security requires vigilance, even for consumers. One issue we have been hearing a lot over the last couple of years is credit/debit card skimmers.

A skimmer is a cheap hardware device that blends into the credit/debit card processing machine of a retailer. When processing your transaction, the skimmer copies your card information and somehow makes it available to the "bad" guys.

An open-source Android app, called Skimmer Scanner, is promising to help consumers win this battle. The company behind this project, SparkFun, explains why thieves love gas stations. The skimmer equipment costs $10 or less and the master key to open a gas pump is typically easy to get (since there are only a small number of variations). After a couple of days or weeks, the thieves drive by the modified pump and wireless dump all of the credit/debit card information via Bluetooth.

It is this feature that the app leverages to find these skimmers. It looks for a particular kind of Bluetooth signal, attempts to connect to it and thus verifies if there is a skimmer in the area. 

Believe it or not, thieves are lazy so most often they leave the default skimmer configuration on devices.

SparkFun has a great blog post talking about gas station skimmers you'll enjoy reading.

I will be trying this our at local retailers. Download Skimmer Scanner yourself from the Google Play store here