A new app dubbed Bluetana allows users to detect Bluetooth based skimmers hidden in gas pumps. These Bluetooth skimmers also attackers to connect the payment data safely by sitting inside a car.

Skimmers are nothing but the malicious payment card readers that grabs the data of payment card’s magnetic stripe used in payment terminals.

Researchers from UC San Diego and the University of Illinois developed the Bluetana app which detects the skimmers based on the Bluetooth signature.

Skimming Attacks at Gas Pumps

Payment card skimming attacks at gas stations have reached alarming levels, for cybercriminals Gas Pumps become as an ideal target, because they can hide the skimmers easily and difficult to detect.

According to law enforcement agencies, skimmers results in a daily loss of $15,000–50,000. In this paper, researchers “evaluate the effectiveness of detecting skimmers with Bluetooth scanning from a smartphone.”

How Bluetana Works?

The Bluetana app was developed with the input data from the United States Secret Service and it is available now only for gas pump inspectors and not for public use.

There are some other Bluetooth scanning apps exists, but when compared to other apps, Bluetana to discover more skimmers and has less false positive, it was developed by researchers “to distinguish skimmers from legitimate Bluetooth devices.”

Bluetana Detection Method

The app was developed after a case study taken by inspectors inspecting 1,185 gas stations.”Our volunteers have collected scans at 1,185 gas stations, where they observed a total of 2,562 Bluetooth devices”.

“Bluetana has detected skimmers at 1.58% of the 491 stations it scanned, and routine inspections by state inspectors had a similar detection rate of 1.5% from 2016 to 2018.”

Also read about the free Android App that helps you to Detect Credit Card Skimmers at Fuel Pump.

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