Skimmer, deuxième partie

Previously on Skimmer: on Sunday, your protagonist discovered a suspicious-looking whirring bezel stuck on the hacked-up front of an RBS cash machine and reported it to the operators. On Monday, he observed the same cash machine, now out of order, but continuing to sport the peculiar modification. And now, the continuation …

This evening (Tuesday), I returned to reconnoitre the ATM in question. It’s now back in service, with the funny bezel still in place.

I imagine two possibilities:

1. There is a skimmer, but RBS couldn’t spot it.
2. RBS actually fitted a replacement bezel to their cashpoint by hacking it up with a Stanley knife.

So which is it? Which kind of incompetence?

If banks can’t spot skimmers, then we’re all screwed. On the other hand, if their machines look like they’ve been nobbled even when they haven’t, how is anyone ever supposed to spot a dodgy one? There’s no good answer to this conundrum.

Because a number of people have asked: it’s the ATM on the right in front of Tesco Surrey Quays.


I discovered a card skimmer on a cash machine on Sunday morning. More…

Constitutions and passports

Northern Ireland is a great place to have been born, at least back when I was. You get to have two nationalities. (And, unlike UK citizens born elsewhere, you’re eligible for the US Diversity green card lottery.) I mean, sure, nationality based on the place in which you happened to be born is kind of arbitrary, but what else do you think nationality is?

Anyway, you get the right to choose two nationalities, which gives you the right to one passport. That’s right: I said one. No one has the right to a British passport. More…


I was in Aberdeen at the weekend, but I think I saw more Scottish saltires flying from flagpoles in a fifteen-minute walk through Westminster this evening than I did all weekend.

Every government building in London is flying the Scottish flag now, it seems, as part of a desperate last-ditch attempt to head off the increasingly real possibility of Scottish independence. I think they might have left it a bit late to start taking things seriously. More…

Encrypted application configuration

If you want to automate a process that requires a lot of sensitive information—passwords, a PIN, the second, πth and eleventy-first letters of your so-called ‘memorable word’, and so on—then you probably don’t want to type all of them in separately every time. On the other hand, you probably also don’t want them to be stored in plain text on your computer, even if you’re using full-disk encryption. More…

Older entries can be found in the diary section.