Two Chinese men stand accused of ATM hacking in Pakistan after Karachi police said they caught them after they installed debit card skimmers in an ATM at a local bank. According multiple media outlets in Pakistan, police caught the two Chinese nationals after citizens nabbed them following three days of what they allege was suspicious behavior around an ATM on Abdullah Haroon Road in Karachi’s Sadar neighborhood.
Chinese nationals accused of ATM hacking
Pakistani media report that staffers at the bank told the Federal Investigation Agency that the two men had installed skimmers at the ATM. Officials told Pakistani media that they arrested the two men after they returned to the booth to remove the ATM hacking devices they had installed. Officials also said they confiscated ATM hacking devices from both of the suspects.
ATM skimmers are used by thieves to record PIN codes used with debit cards to withdraw money from banks. According to Geo TV, thieves use various ATM hacking techniques to steal money from victims’ accounts. In some cases, they install a fake debit card reader on the ATM, and in other instances, they install a fake keypad on it to steal victims’ PIN codes. Still other cases involve hidden cameras which capture PIN codes for the thieves. Some ATM hacking devices can even change the ATM’s entire screen.
Nationwide crackdown on ATM hacking in Pakistan
The Federal Investigation Agency arrested another Chinese national in 2016 and charged him in connection with similar behavior around ATM hacking. He was charged with theft of data from a private bank in Pakistan where he was accused of installing card skimmers at an ATM, according to Samaa. In 2017, two other suspects also were arrested and jailed on ATM skimming allegations.
Authorities say hundreds of Pakistani debit card users have been affected by such ATM skimming incidents and scams, so the FIA has been conducting a nationwide crackdown on ATM skimming. Additionally, the State Bank of Pakistan has published some guidelines to help banks as they install infrastructure for Europay Mastercard Visa Compliance. The SBP also ordered Pakistani banks to issue new cards in compliance with the EMV guidelines by June 30, 2018 to improve cyber-security as well.