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Researchers Hack ‘Tamper-Proof’ PIN Terminals
ZDNet UK (02/26/08) Espiner, Tom

Cambridge University researchers have successfully hacked the Ingenico i3300 and Dione Xtreme PIN terminals, which are widely used in Britain and are touted as tamper-proof. Cambridge’s Saar Drimer and Steven Murdoch say the devices’ anti-tampering measures can be bypassed by tapping the line of the PIN Entry Device/smartcard interface, where the data is unencrypted, using conductors linked to a logic board with a field programmable gate array through a thin wire. The Ingenico device features a user-accessible compartment to insert SIM cards that is not designed with tamper-proofing in mind. The researchers employed a paper clip as a conductor, which they inserted into the serial data line through a hole in the PCB and thus were able to capture both the PIN and card details. They also drilled into the Dione Xtreme from the rear without being detected, and tapped the data through the insertion of a 4-centimeter needle into a flat ribbon connector socket. Both terminals were certified by Visa as secure, but the researchers found that neither device complied with security standards. “What this shows is that PIN entry devices in the U.K. are very insecure,” says Cambridge professor Ross Anderson. “What’s more, the [device] certification process is completely defective.”