Scammer Tries to Fool Security Experts at Defcon
Article by George Norman
On 03 Aug 2009
Security experts from all over the world gathered this weekend at the Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas to share their latest findings in the security area – this includes the study that shows half of all security experts are unhappy and unappreciated. Some unlucky scammer decided that the Defcon conference would make for a good target and planted a fake ATM (automated teller machine) in the hotel where the conference took place.

A card-skimming scheme, in normal conditions, can go on for quite a long time before someone gets wise to it. Sometimes people don’t even notice that there is something wrong with the ATM. They go up to the ATM, feed it their card and their PIN number, and when the ATM does not shell out the cash, they simply move on. That’s in normal conditions of course, and the Defcon 2009 conference is anything but a normal condition. Amongst all those white hat hackers, someone was bound to spot the scam – and that is precisely what happened.

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“They looked at the screen where there would normally be a camera. It was a little bit too dark, so someone shined a flashlight in there and there was a PC,” explained for Computerworld a Senior Conference Organizer who identified himself only as Priest. Had it not been for the eagle-eyed security experts, who knows how many people would have ended up a victim of this scam.

After the fake ATM was spotted, Defcon organizers notified the authorities, who showed up and removed it. Now the scammer is out a fake ATM, has the law on his tale, and made a fool of himself by trying to scam attendees to the Defcon conference.

Another security conference took place in Las Vegas last week: the Black Hat conference. The irony is that during this conference Barnaby Jack, a security researcher with Juniper Networks, was supposed to give a talk on ATM security. His presentation was canceled because the ATM inventor the talk referred to put pressure on Juniper Networks, stating that the presentation should be delayed until the problem with the ATM is solved.



Tags: Defcon, ATM, Scam
About the author: George Norman
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Scammer Tries to Fool Security Experts at Defcon
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