App allows inspectors to find gas pump skimmers faster

Aug 14, 2019

San Diego, Calif., Aug. 14, 2019 -- A team of computer scientists at UC San Diego and the University of Illinois has developed an app that allows state and federal inspectors to detect devices that criminals install in gas pumps to steal consumer credit and debit card data. The devices, known as skimmers, use Bluetooth to transmit the data they steal.

“All criminals have to do is download the data from the comfort of their vehicle,” said Nishant Bhaskar, a Ph.D. student in computer science at the University of California San Diego and the study’s first author.

The app, called Bluetana, detects the Bluetooth signature of the skimmers, and allows inspectors to find the devices without needing to open up the gas pumps.

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