Browse Prior Art Database

Deterring ATM Personal Identification Number Theft

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000019330D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Sep-11
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Sep-11
Document File: 3 page(s) / 167K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Thieves have often targeted automated teller machine (ATM) users by stealing the user's personal identification number (PIN). One way is to steal the PIN by observing the user from a distance using a pair of binoculars to capture the keying in of the PIN and later stealing the users ATM card. To prevent thieves from stealing PIN numbers, a method of scrambling the "keypad" and making the "keypad" virtually unreadable from a distance is a solution. By scrambling the keypad layout a thief observing from a distance would not be able to unscramble the keypad nor would he be able to determine which numbers were entered as he could no longer be able to view the keypad.

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Deterring ATM Personal Identification Number Theft

The essence of this invention is to use a soft implementation of the standard keypad used on ATM machines. Using a static layout of the keypad as governed by the physical characteristics of the keypad and/or implementing a "static" keypad on a touch screen permits thieves to simply track hand movement to obtain the user's PIN.

The "soft" implementation could use something like a touch screen where the layout of the soft keys would change each time a user is required to enter his PIN number. For example, when the user slides his card through the reader the layout might be:

The next time the user is prompted to enter his PIN during his current session, i.e. didn't have to swipe his card or during the same interactive session the layout change to:

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A thief observing the user enter his PIN from a distance would then come and attempt to use the same key strokes and fail. In fact, should this happen the ATM could then go into a mode to call the police, report the problem, and keep the user there enticing the user into thinking the transaction is working while the police come and arrest the thief.

In addition to the scrambling of the keypad layout, the screen could have a polarized film applied such that viewers at a lower angle of incidence could not determine the keypad layout thus preventing the reading of the numbers as opposed to tracking the users key st...