Computer expert convicted of using MP3 players to hack ATMs

Computer expert convicted of using MP3 players to hack ATMs

A computer expert who used portable music players to bug ATMs in order to steal the personal details of bank customers has been gaoled in the UK.

Maxwell Parsons, 41, from Manchester was sentenced for 32 months after pleading guilty to the fraud, which took place before the introduction of chip and PIN technology in the UK.

A crown court in Minshull Street, Manchester heard how Parsons attached portable MP3 players to the back of off-site freestanding ATMs that recorded transaction data sent over telephone lines to banks when customers used the cash machines.

He then used a software program to "translate" the tones from the transactions sent over the telephone lines and used the stolen data to clone new cards.

According to press reports the stolen data was used by Parsons and his accomplices to buy £200,000 worth of goods.

Parsons was arrested by chance in March last year when a car he was travelling in carried out an illegal U-turn in the City of London. Police found a counterfeit card and later searched his home in Gorton, Manchester where they uncovered the technical equipment along with eight counterfeit cards and 18 cards that has been cloned using stolen data.

Parsons initially denied the fraud but later admitted to "possessing equipment to make a false instrument, deception and unlawful interception of a public telecommunication transmission".

Detective Inspector Alan Shepherd of the Greater Manchester Police Economic Crime Unit told reporters that the method used by Parsons was sophisticated, but the banking industry and ATM owners have now taken action to prevent this happening in the future.

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