ATM alert from LA County Sheriff's Department

I got this via a colleague of mine and thought I should spread the warning. I don’t forward chain letters, but send this link to other folks, what helps is the pictures, so you know what to look out for.

UPDATE: Here is another story (by Guardian) send my a colleague which has pictures for the ATM for UK, where these scams have been around for the last couple of years. It is always good to see the pictures carefully and keep an eye out.

Bank ATM’s Converted to Steal IDs of Bank Customers

A team of organized criminals are installing equipment on legitimate bank ATM’s in at least 2 regions to steal both the ATM card number and the PIN. The team sits nearby in a car receiving the information transmitted wirelessly over weekends and evenings from equipment they install on the front of the ATM (see photos). If you see an attachment like this, do not use the ATM and report it immediately to the bank using the 800 number or phone on the front of the ATM.

The equipment used to capture your ATM card number and PIN are cleverly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. A “skimmer” is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number and transmits it to the criminals sitting in a nearby car.

At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries.

The thieves copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw thousands from many accounts in a very short time directly from the bank ATM.

1. Equipment being installed on front of existing bank card slot.

2. The equipment as it appears installed over the normal ATM bank slot.

3. The PIN reading camera being installed on the ATM is housed in an innocent looking leaflet enclosure.

4. The camera shown installed and ready to capture PIN’s by looking down on the keypad as you enter your PIN

Secure Startup Volume Encryption in Vista

It has been long overdue and now its finally present. Vista has something called the Secure Startup Volume Encryption which will work on computers with the Trusted Module Platform (TPM) chip. Here, all except the bare minimum of the boot volume is encrypted and at boot time the TPM transparently allows access to the drive. If someone either removed the hard disk and puts it in a different machine or attempts to boot from a different OS, the disk will be unreadable without a password. There is no GUI for this in Beta 1 but the service is there.

How to install Linux from Windows?

I have an old server which right now is running Windows 2000 Server and I want to install Linux on it. Unfortunately, I cannot boot from a CD as the BIOS was on a different partition (this is an old Compaq machine), and there is no way for me to get into that now. Also, I don’t have any floppies lying around that I can use. Which means I was stuck. But, I came across an article by Marc Herbert which details how to install Linux for someone exactly in my situation – without any CD, floppy or USB-Key.

My question now is, has anyone tried this? I have not yet, might do it tonight. And Two, which distro to use? Most of them are listed, Centos is missing (Karan you reading this?). Traditionally when I have played with this on a Virtual Machine it has been the Suse Linux or Redhat, and I personally prefer Suse, however I have not used them enough to know which one is better?

So, what do you recommend and importantly why?

Google is using a baseball bat to swat a fly on its own forehead

I love the way the San Jose Mercury News portray the blacklisting of CNet by Google for a year – Google is using a baseball bat to swat a fly on its own forehead.”

All, this happened because of the story Google balances privacy reach published by CNet where one of the reporters found out a lot of private information about Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt including where he lives, his wifes name, how much money he makes, what political fund raisers he contributes to, etc.

This is the same company who supposedly says “Do no Evil”, and bash Microsoft every opportunity they get?