We are have to face up to yet another threat to our PIN numbers when using ATM’s, for it seems that a team of researchers using an infrared camera have been able to see the heat transferred from the customers fingers onto the ATM keyboard and because the heat fades, it is easy to spot in which order the keys were touched. In a test the team were able to accurately identify the PIN number eighty per cent of the time, while after a minute this drops to fifty per cent of the time.
According to researchers Keaton Mowery, Sarah Meiklejohn and Stefan Savage of the University of California at San Diego (UCSD);
“With plastic keypads, we can reliably detect which buttons were pressed, but it is really difficult to determine the order. Essentially, if you pointed the camera directly at the metal keypad, it would show you the thermal fingerprint of you, the camera operator, rather than of the keypad itself. However, we didn’t push it, because the plastic keypad did work. It’s possible that someone else could solve those issues.”
This could be bad news, but currently the cost of the equipment needed is around $18k (£12k) so it is not likely that this is going to become the next big crime soon, but who knows how technology can change over the years to come, maybe there will be an app for that!