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Holiday security risks are in the real world too, not just online

Taylor Armerding | Dec. 10, 2013
Credit card skimming devices and hidden cameras are just two ways crooks make this the most scam-filled time of the year for shoppers

Strand said technology can help as well. "The best way to defeat them is to ensure that hardware or fixed-function devices are limited in their interface to allow only customer input via the keypad or close proximity RFID input," he said.

"Limiting the common interfaces that many of these devices have, such as open wireless ports, physical inputs like USB ports, and any other interface to access the device, reduces the possible access points that cyber thieves may use to compromise a device."

Monitoring can help as well, he said, "to detect if the device is attempting to run a process that is either prohibited under the business logic of the machine, or that is suspicious."

Experts agree that there is little hope that law enforcement can cut off or even curb the supply of these devices. The highly publicized recent shutdown of the online black market Silk Road will make little difference, they said.

"The darkweb is exponentially larger than what everyday consumers have access to," Siciliano said. "The tools to search and navigate via TOR (The Onion Router) are getting better every day."

Strand added that other illicit marketplaces, "will easily fill the void that Silk Road left when it was shut down."

And even if those markets disappeared, "many of these devices can be constructed using home-based manufacturing techniques," Strand said. "The devices and the tools used to create them are becoming more simplified making them more difficult to trace."


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