If basic identity theft threats weren't worrying you already, MSNBC has a nice report on a potentially big security hole in the ATM system, basically pointing out that there are points on the network where PIN information is unencrypted and could be grabbed. It's not necessarily easy to do, but it is possible and highlights how previous claims about the security of ATM networks isn't actually true. The article quotes a bunch of financial service folks claiming that it's really no big deal, that they've known about this issue for a while, the hole will be closed soon and it's highly unlikely anyone would actually be able to use this. Except, of course, MSNBC notes that the Secret Service has already found plenty of discussions among Russian organized crime groups who have been working hard to break ATM security in order to create cloned ATM/debit cards in order to drain people's accounts. The end result, is that it sounds like this is a serious weakness, but one not easy to exploit. Russian organized crime groups are working on it, though, so it would seem that no matter how small the risk is, it certainly sounds like something financial institutions should pay attention to. The risk is always small until someone breaks in -- but by then it's often too late.
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