How to protect yourself from Credit/Debit card data theft?

There is no doubt that ransomware are the primary focus of every cyber criminal to raise funds in this modern era of technology. Security researchers has been raising concerns about how cyber criminals are easily targeting the card holder because of the lack of security measures. Many banking chains in developing countries are still using Windows XP operating system, an OS which has been outdated for a while now. All these aspects are providing opportunities to cyber criminals to exploit the security holes.

Last year, Wall Street Journal has broken the story that the data theft of Debit Card holders has reached the 20 year high. Even though the target of criminals are only U.S citizens but it has showed even the biggest banks in the world have severe vulnerabilities in their security infrastructure. A report published by FICO (credit-scoring and analytic firm) last year says; the attacks on U.S citizens by debit cards used at ATMs has reached the all-time high.

Brian Kerbs, a well known name in the Infosec industry has also published a report recently in which; explained the tactics cyber criminals are using to steal customers credit/debit card data.  In his report he explained how hackers are using the techniques to hijack the customers phone and internet jack on ATMs. He also revealed that; NCR and Diebold ATM holders are the most vulnerable to these skimming techniques of cyber criminals. 

How a user secures himself from Debit Card Data theft

Few important tips that can help you avoid the data theft of your credit/debit card are as follow: 

  • Check for compromised ATM machines: 


The skimmer device which I’ve been mentioning from the start is one of the most common way to steal your cards data among cyber criminals. A crook will plant one of these gadgets on the “swipe” or “dip” port on an ATM, where it may read the magnetic strip on your card and rip its data. The thief can then create counterfeit cards, or use the card information to make purchases online.

  • Avoid using ATMs on public places (Shopping malls, Stores)


The ATMs located on public places like railway stations, Shopping malls, Stores (Walmart) are more easier to temper with then the ones on bank premises. For the sake of your own debit/credit data security avoid using ATMs that are in public places; the risk is too high. Just look at the numbers provided by FICO, as mentioned above: 174% increase in compromises for bank-based ATMs versus 317% increase for the rest. 

  • Restrict your exposure and notify bank of any unusual transaction immediately


Not using your Credit/debit card will minimize the risk of encountering an infected ATM machine. Avoid taking out small amount of money; it can help you in achieving this task. In case you notice a transaction in your account that you cannot recognize; immediately make a call to your bank. 


These simple steps can avoid your pain of debit card data theft after all it was not always your bank’s fault. Stay safe and keep note of these advises for the sake of your own security.  

Ehacking Staff
With more than 50 global partners, we are proud to count the world’s leading cybersecurity training provider. EH Academy is the brainchild of Ehacking, which has been involved in the field of training since the past Five years and continues to help in creating professional IT experts.

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