For every ATM card or debit card that is issued by a bank or other financial institution to a customer, there is a PIN code that allows the customer to access the funds in the account. The PIN codes are supposed to be among the most heavily secured elements of the banking transactions. However, according to court documents and a report on Sfgate.com, thieves have been able to access numerous PIN codes and millions of dollars of bank customers’ money by breaking into the computer network of automated teller machines (ATM”s) at various 7-Eleven convenience stores.
Customers’ PIN codes are supposed to be protected by the banks and other financial institutions with the highest level of encryption (the use of secret coding to prevent others from reading information). However, some operators of ATM’s are not using the recommended strong encryption methods allowing hackers to access the PIN data that goes from the ATM’s to the computer systems that process the transactions.
Law enforcement officials do not know exactly how the thieves accessed the PIN codes, but believe it was done remotely via a server. As a result, customers and potential victims would not notice anything different about an ATM, the use of which could potentially result in the theft of their PIN code.