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Jon Brodkin


Prototype of a system for preventing ATM theft.

Reuters

A criminal serving a five-year sentence "for supplying gadgets to an organized crime gang used to conceal ATM skimmers" has invented a device that prevents ATMs from being susceptible to such thefts, Reuters reported today.

Valentin Boanta, who is six months into his sentence in a Romanian prison, developed what he calls the SRS (Secure Revolving System) which changes the way ATM machines read bank cards to prevent the operation of skimming devices that criminals hide inside ATMs.

Boanta's arrest in 2009 spurred him to develop the anti-theft device to make amends. "When I got caught I became happy. This liberation opened the way to working for the good side," Boanta told Reuters. "Crime was like a drug for me. After I was caught, I was happy I escaped from this adrenaline addiction. So that the other part, in which I started to develop security solutions, started to emerge."

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If the previous ATM skimmer posts didn't scare the pants off you, this one from San Fernando Valley, which Brian Krebs reports on, might. It has a near-undetectable pinhole camera for recording timestamped footage of your PIN entry, and apart from that indicator, the only way to spot it is to yank hard on the front of the ATM before you start using it.


A few tips about ATM skimmers and skimming scams. It’s difficult — once you’re aware of how sophisticated some of these skimmers can be — to avoid being paranoid around ATMs; friends and family often tease me for stopping to tug at ATMs that I pass on the street, even when I have no intention of withdrawing money from the machines.

Still, it’s good and healthy to be somewhat paranoid while at an ATM. Make sure nobody is “shoulder surfing” you to watch you enter your PIN. A simple precaution defeats shoulder surfing and many other types of video-based PIN stealing mechanism: Cover the PIN pad with your hand or another object when you enter your PIN.

Skimtacular: All-in-One ATM Skimmer

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mdsolar sends this quote from an article at the NY Times:
"All but two of Japan's 54 commercial reactors have gone offline since the nuclear disaster a year ago, after the earthquake and tsunami, and it is not clear when they can be restarted. With the last operating reactor scheduled to be idled as soon as next month, Japan — once one of the world's leaders in atomic energy — will have at least temporarily shut down an industry that once generated a third of its electricity. With few alternatives, the prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, has called for restarting the plants as soon as possible, saying he supports a gradual phase-out of nuclear power over several decades. Yet, fearing public opposition, he has said he will not restart the reactors without the approval of local community leaders."


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Orome1 writes "A perfectly planned and coordinated bank robbery was executed during the first three days of the new year in Johannesburg, and left the targeted South African Postbank — part of the nation's Post Office service — with a loss of some $6.7 million. The cyber gang behind the heist was obviously very well informed about the post office's IT systems, and began preparing the ground for the heist a few months before, by opening accounts in post offices across the country and compromising an employee computer in the Rustenburg Post Office."



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GTAC 2011: WebDriver

6th Annual Google Test Automation Conference 2011 (GTAC 2011) "Cloudy With A Chance Of Tests" Computer History Museum Mountain View, CA USA October 26-27, 2011 Presented by Simon Stewart. ABSTRACT Google has a unique infrastructure for running web tests. This talk will focus on how this infrastructure evolved, from running tests on local machines, all the way up to the sophisticated tools available for Googlers now. Along the way, you'll learn how you, too, can build something similar using OSS, and a little bit of elbow grease. You'll walk away knowing just how much effort you want to expend on running your tests in the cloud, and whether a private or public implementation is the right thing for you. Simon Stewart lives in London and works as a Senior Software Engineer in Test at Google. He is the current lead of the Open Source Selenium project and deeply involved with browser automation at work. Simon's first GTAC experience was in New York, where his carefully planned demo went horribly awry. It has been said before that Simon enjoys beer and writing better software, sometimes at the same time. This continues to be true. He is also the top hit for the search 'steel cage knife fight', a fact that makes him inordinately proud.
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