GeekSpeak for 2003-05-09

ATM Security

Every one has a PIN
for using an ATM , and
we all know not to give it out to anyone, but have you ever wonder how ATM ’s do secure transaction? Financial
security expert Michael McKay, Director of Software Development at "iS3(Information Security Systems and Services) ": talks with the Geeks about how ATM ’s and Point Of Sale
systems communicate with Banks to get money from your account.

Michael is the Director of Software Development at "iS3(Information Security Systems and Services) ": He has worked at Tandem/Compaq

and IBM. Michael has a total of 15 years experiance with applied cryptography.
He is a member of the the ANSI X9F committee which is tasked with
defining financial security standards.

ATM ’s and Point of Sale systems (ATM readers in Department and Grocery Stores) have encryption keys in them. The use a mix of technology. The ATM Machines use DES and there is a move and recomendation to go to Tripple DES . Jane Aptos Jane’s Help Viewer Application is not. It allows one to see the index of help resources but you can not click on an item to view it’s contents. Durring the show we sympathised and sugested by-passing the flawed application by opening the documentation files in a browser. For FileMaker you can find their documentation in FileMaker’s application folder. Other applications might follow this form or have their help files in the root Library folder in a sub-folder called Documentation. Help Viewer reades HTML or HTM documents. These are web documents. Just drop them on a web browser icon to open them in your favorate browser. Dedi did some research off air and found some sugestions on Quick Help Viewer at This is taken from MacFixitForums. Two things to try: 1) Fix disk permissions (use Disk Utility). 2) Quit Help Viewer, then throw out the file, in /Users/YourUserName/Library/Preferences/ I was having the same problem, and by searching these boards, I found that it was caused by the fact that I attempted to adjust the font size in Help Viewer (the commands are under the “Edit” menu). Apparently it’s a bug in Help Viewer - adjust the fonts so they’re readable, and you can’t follow the links. Catch-22. Throw out the preferences (or edit them properly), though, and the font size readjusts and you can follow the links to pages with equally unreadable tiny type. My guess is that disk permissions is your problem, but if Disk Utility doesn’t do the trick, try Step 2. Mike Santa Cruz Mike sugested that the entry of a PIN into an ATM can be viewd by an observer. He also brought up the danger of someone adding a fake keypad to the front of an ATM to collect people’s keystrokes as they enter them, and the possable use of a magnetic reader to swipe the card information. This practice can be used to steal ATM cards and PINs. Our guest Michael McKay sugested that covering the keypad when you enter your pin is always a good idea. And that one should always make sure that the ATM or Point Of Sale system be checked for oddness. If there is a bunch of tape on the machine – or wires sticking out – don’t enter your PIN.