ATM hackers turn to train ticket machines

Faced with improved ATM security, German credit card fraudsters have started manipulating train ticket machines to steal PIN numbers and bank details, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) revealed this week.

ATM hackers turn to train ticket machines
Photo: DPA

Reported attacks on cash points may have halved between 2010 and 2011 but the BKA said incidents of manipulated train ticket machines were being reported for the first time across Germany.

The BKA received 25 reports of ticket machines that had been fiddled with last year, Tuesday’s Die Welt newspaper said. Culprits seem to have stuck with ATM tried and tested “skimming” technology, where a person’s details are stolen from a credit or debit card magnetic strip.

Other known method include the installation of a tiny camera above the key pad to film PIN numbers – and even the installation of a whole fake keyboard.

But thanks to what BKA president Jörg Zierke attributed to anti-skimming technology in 60,000 ATM machines and moving to Chip and Pin payments, the number of hacking cases sank from 3,180 in 2010 to 1,300 in 2011.

In 2011, banks cancelled more than 150,000 cards believed to have had their details copied. In 2010, 300,000 cards were cancelled.

Losses through fraud amounted to, the BKA said, around €35 million last year and nearly double this the year before.

The sinking figures appear to be continuing into 2012 though, with just 400 reported cases of ATM machines being manipulated between January and July, the BKA said.

Cancelling a credit or debit card can now be done more quickly, said Hans-Werner Niklasch, president of company which operates Germany’s EC payment system. He added that this, along with the updating of 94 million bank cards, had contributed significantly to the drop in fraud cases.

The Local/jcw

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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.