Another thing to watch out for at your local ATM: The heat from your fingertips is actually leaving behind traces of heat that can be seen with a simple digital infrared camera. The camera can pick up which keys were pressed with about 80% accuracy even a full minute after you have left the ATM behind.
A criminal can definitely determine which keys you pressed but thankfully it is rather difficult to figure out in what order the keys were pressed. This sort of key identification only works well on plastic keypads as well since metal retains too much heat noise to allow the camera to accurately pick up which keys were recently pressed.
At the moment this sort of crime is in its infancy and there isn’t a large chance that you will be caught unawares but as technology gets better and better this sort of theft will become easier and more wide-spread. The ATM is not the only place technology of this nature could be used to infiltrate – keypad safes, security doors, keypad activated garage doors and car doors, and basically anything that uses plastic keypads is potentially vulnerable.
Right now, to prevent any possibility of reading which keys you have recently pressed, simply place your hand over the entire keypad for a few seconds once you are finished – then every key will be just as warm as the one next to it.
~ K. McMillan-Ralph, TeCHS
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