Hackers will target your credit and debit card pretty much anywhere you can use it, online or off. Gas pumps have become an increasingly popular target in recent years.
In the past, attacks at the pump largely relied on card skimming hardware that had to be physically installed atop the pump’s built-in card processing hardware. It’s proven to be a relatively simple task for even a modestly-skilled criminal.
Now, however, Visa is warning of a new kind of attack. The elite hacking group known collectively as FIN8 is actively exploiting vulnerabilities in gas station point-of-sale networks to skim card data without the need for modifications at the actual pumps.
That’s a huge problem for customers. Hardware skimmers aren’t always that hard to detect. Poor fit and finish can give them away — as can a gentle tug on one that’s been poorly installed.
Even more sophisticated Bluetooth-enabled skimmers can be exposed by a simple scan with an app. By hooking into the underlying systems that process customer payments, FIN8’s attack is completely undetectable by a customer who’s paying at the pump.
You’re not totally defenseless, however. You can, of course, pay for your fuel purchase with cash. You can also use some cards without fear that they’ll be compromised.
If you have a chip-and-pin card, you’re in good shape. Visa notes that only cards that lack those protections (older-style cards that only bear a magnetic stripe on the back) are at risk.
Daniel Köhler is specializing as editor at Cryptocurrencies at Financial Magazine . Has a degree in mathematics science and a master’s in management from the London School of Economics. Initially working as a TV journalist, he then became an editor at several financial publications. He is passionate about new technology and has the potential to completely see new ways in the world of cryptocurrencies.