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Gang Used 3D Printers To Make ATM Skimmers

Soulskill posted about 3 years ago | from the bank-error-in-your-favor dept.

Crime 212

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a post by security researcher Brian Krebs: "An ATM skimmer gang stole more than $400,000 using skimming devices built with the help of high-tech 3D printers, federal prosecutors say. ... Apparently, word is spreading in the cybercrime underworld that 3D printers produce flawless skimmer devices with exacting precision. Last year, i-materialize blogged about receiving a client's order for building a card skimmer. In June, a federal court indicted four men from South Texas whom authorities say had reinvested the profits from skimming scams to purchase a 3D printer."

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Why not use the printer... (1)

Deages (2273730) | about 3 years ago | (#37464866)

...to just print money? Flawless logic.

Re:Why not use the printer... (1)

Nasajin (967925) | about 3 years ago | (#37464882)

Why stop there? Just print anything you need. Food, homes, clean air, world peace, immortality serum. At that point, the world is pretty much your oyster.

Re:Why not use the printer... (2)

lxs (131946) | about 3 years ago | (#37465082)

Yeah! Let's print oysters.

Re:Why not use the printer... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465092)

Why stop there? Just print anything you need. Food, homes, clean air, world peace, immortality serum. At that point, the world is pretty much your oyster.

But what about cheap slutty beautiful women? You can't print that! You need cold hard cash!

Re:Why not use the printer... (1)

gilleain (1310105) | about 3 years ago | (#37465958)

Why stop there? Just print anything you need. Food, homes, clean air, world peace, immortality serum. At that point, the world is pretty much your oyster.

But what about cheap slutty beautiful women? You can't print that! You need cold hard cash!

I guess you haven't seen that documentary called "Weird Science". It's very informative on this process.

Re:Why not use the printer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465112)

You wouldn't steal a Ferrari, so why would you print one? Oh, you're not printing Ferraris anymore? Well are you using wheels? Ferrari just patented the wheel, and will sue you for making cars in general now. The 3d printer is bad for jobs. What will happen in all the Ferrari factories if you can make your own cars?

Re:Why not use the printer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465576)

What will happen in all the Ferrari factories if you can make your own cars?

The production floors will be subdivided into cubicles and filled with ex-SCO lawyers.

Re:Why not use the printer... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 3 years ago | (#37466136)

The wheel is already patented in Australia. A patent reform activist patented it years ago in order to demonstrate that the Australian patent office was ridiculously lax in enforcing even the most basic of originality standards.

Re:Why not use the printer... (1)

darekgla (2447906) | about 3 years ago | (#37465590)

And what are we doing now ? :) The money has no real value ,its just a commonly accepted idea with exclusive right to print given out to banking industry.Aside the immortality serum anything is just a matter of money...

Very broken system (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#37464896)

When a 3d printer can make a decent skimming device (or disguise one) you can't help but think the system is truly broken. Computer security has progressed in leaps and bounds - it isn't perfect and it certainly isn't idiot proof. But banks are still using hand written signatures and easily faked devices while all but ignoring the risk. Heck they're introducing pinless low value transactions at shopping centers in Australia. I'm ANNOYED that my card can be used without either a signature or a pin number verification being used. It means there's significant risk that me or my wife lose a credit card and don't immediately discover it, we'll be up for a very large sum of money. And even if we're not, we won't have access to the money while the issue is resolved.

It's not sustainable. The banks need to be held more accountable.

Re:Very broken system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37464944)

When a 3d printer can make a decent skimming device (or disguise one) you can't help but think the system is truly broken

Spare us the dramatics. I'm not sure what "system" you're claiming is broken, or what you expect "computer security" to do about intercepting input from a human before it ever reaches the actual computer.
I think you're confused as to what an ATM "skimmer" really is- it's a physical device you place over the keypad and card-reader which harvests the data while seamlessly passing the input to the ATM itself. A camera is used to observe the display. If you've got some kind of specific idea on how to defeat such fraud, then by all means post it instead of your pointless doom-and-gloom whining.

Re:Very broken system (1)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#37464998)

When a 3d printer can make a decent skimming device (or disguise one) you can't help but think the system is truly broken

Spare us the dramatics. I'm not sure what "system" you're claiming is broken, or what you expect "computer security" to do about intercepting input from a human before it ever reaches the actual computer.
I think you're confused as to what an ATM "skimmer" really is- it's a physical device you place over the keypad and card-reader which harvests the data while seamlessly passing the input to the ATM itself. A camera is used to observe the display. If you've got some kind of specific idea on how to defeat such fraud, then by all means post it instead of your pointless doom-and-gloom whining.

Ever heard of 2 way verification? The ATM verifies the credit card. The credit card (or I would suggest usb dongle) should verify the ATM and not allow passthrough skimming operations.

Re:Very broken system (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | about 3 years ago | (#37465006)

What I want to know is how they can install these things without anyone noticing.

Re:Very broken system (1)

powerspike (729889) | about 3 years ago | (#37465096)

What I want to know is how they can install these things without anyone noticing.

at 3am in the morning when nobody is around ?

Re:Very broken system (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | about 3 years ago | (#37465328)

Isn't there a cctv camera in every single ATM? Do not "they" have image recognition algorithms? ;-)

Re:Very broken system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465640)

no and no one looks at the tapes unless there is a robbery, plus I bet a lot of these end up on non-bank ATMs that don't have cameras.

Re:Very broken system (1)

rhook (943951) | about 3 years ago | (#37465290)

It takes a second and the skimmers are small enough to conceal in your hand. People also tend to not witness what happens in the middle of the night.

Re:Very broken system (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 3 years ago | (#37465660)

If the banks would really care about those things they could install video surveillance. Take a reference picture of the machine, compare it with how the machine currently looks, if objects are out of place, give alarm and lock the machine down.

Re:Very broken system (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 3 years ago | (#37466020)

And that alarm will go off every time someone walks past the machine, or debris is blown onto it.

Re:Very broken system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465022)

"If you've got some kind of specific idea on how to defeat such fraud,"

Use a fucking chip instead of a magnetic stripe like the rest of the world does it since over half a decade.
I've run a magnet over the strip on my chipped cards for years, since the only use it still has is to buy stuff in a brick and mortar shop in the US.
Nobody else is using it anymore.

Re:Very broken system (5, Interesting)

neyla (2455118) | about 3 years ago | (#37465058)

Yeah, and there's absolutely no reason a "card-reader which harvests the data" should be possible to construct - and indeed with a well-engineered chip-card, it isn't.

A magnetic stripe can obviously be read and duplicated. But a chip-card can use challenge-response. That is, to verify the card the protocol between ATM and card runs something like this:

ATM: What's your public key ?
Card: dead0011beef
ATM: Prove it ?
Card: Here's Trents signature that attest it.
ATM: "Please sign 17ae4082b1f"
Card: return sign(my_private_key 17ae4082b1f)
ATM: verify(card_public_key, signature received in last step)

The thing is, there doesn't need to be any easy way of reading out the private key of the card. What's needed is to use one of the many protocols that lets the card prove that it *knows* the private_key, without actually revealing that key.

And this ain't science fiction - it's the way ATMs and retail-terminals *alreay* operates where I live. (though they're generally still *also* able to read magnetic stripes, for backwards compatibility, but they refuse to do so if your card is a chip-card. (the cards also tends to have chip -and- magnetic - the latter is only for use abroad on terminals unequipped for chips - and yes, that adds to risk!)

Re:Very broken system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465276)

Sure, but unfortunately the designers of systems like that do not stop at that point, but they continue thinking "what if we could also add this feature".
So what happened is that they thought of a feature where a card would be authorized without providing a PIN. Just the presence of the card is enough.
And they added a feature to check a pin provided in cleartext, maybe for simpler devices.
And they also designed in a feature which allows the card and reader to negotiate what kind of method they will use for this transaction.

All this mishap together provides the mechanism for a man-in-the-middle attack, where the customer inserts his card in a skim device, containing a processor that talks to the real reader and the customer's card, and modifies the negotiation protocol elements in such a way that the transaction will be done with plaintext PIN or no PIN at all.

Thus they can skim smartcard transactions even on a chipcard. Just because its design was made too complicated.

Re:Very broken system (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 3 years ago | (#37465848)

That's the problem, backwards compatibility exists on the cards so someone will read the magstrip and then take your card to an ATM which accepts them.
Perhaps a short term solution would be to require a different pin number for magstrip use, and for ATMs which use the chip to tell the user so.
Users could then choose not to use magstrip ATMs, and if they got skimmed on a chip ATM the pin number wouldn't be usable by the thieves.

Re:Very broken system (1)

Crookdotter (1297179) | about 3 years ago | (#37466098)

Not that I agree with the broken system, but shouldn't biometrics fix this in one fell swoop? Iris and fingerprint as well as PIN should be about as secure as anyone needs.

Re:Very broken system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37464950)

Not all banks ignore the threat. Here's a particularly interesting blog post [ifm.net.nz] on the matter about BNZ's anti-skimmer overlay and (patented) fingerprinting technology.

Re:Very broken system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37464972)

Uh, what do you suggest? Physical security is harder than digital - you can verify a crypto signature all you want, but how do you verify that you're dealing with the bank's card reader and not a fake one? Screw that, how do you verify that the ATM itself isn't fake?

Re:Very broken system (1)

syousef (465911) | about 3 years ago | (#37464978)

Uh, what do you suggest? Physical security is harder than digital - you can verify a crypto signature all you want, but how do you verify that you're dealing with the bank's card reader and not a fake one? Screw that, how do you verify that the ATM itself isn't fake?

Smart credit card, small onboard chip, and PGP would be one way. Wouldn't need to be a "card" either. Could be a small USB dongle.

Re:Very broken system (2)

clarkcox3 (194009) | about 3 years ago | (#37465224)

Simple:

  • Each card and ATM is given a public/private key pair.
  • The public keys are signed by the bank's private key
  • Every card also contains the bank's public key

When the card is inserted, the ATM asks for the card's public key

  1. The ATM then verifies that the card's public key was signed by the bank, using the bank's public key.
  2. The ATM then encrypts a block of random data with the card's public key, and asks the card to decrypt it.
  3. If the card successfully replies with the same random data, it has just proven that it has the private key that it claims to have

Then it's the card's turn to repeat the same process:

  1. It asks the ATM for its public key, verifies that it was signed by the bank, using the bank's public key.
  2. The card encrypts a block of data with the ATM's public key, asks the ATM to decrypt it

At this point, both the card and the ATM know that they are talking to the appropriate device. Each device can then generate a symmetrical key for that session, and encrypt it with the other device's public key, and use those keys for any further communication.

Re:Very broken system (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 years ago | (#37465408)

The problem is, is that banks use a closed pair system. And it's propritary. The 'chip' system that's going into use in north america and in other places? Eh? Broken. The rfid stuff? Broken. Most of it is still in the deployment phase and all that still. The real problem is, is information security for most financial, not to mention businesses is look at from a perspective of 20 years ago. That perspective is: Not noteworthy. Meaning until there is something so fucking serious that it shakes the business world to it's knees will it change.

Well governments can make laws over it, that's a bandaid solution. Even when the laws are the sledgehammer or wrecking ball option. Information security is broken that's all there is to it. This is apparent when you have people using things like facebook, and google+ happily handing away the things that can get can ruin them well forever.

Re:Very broken system (1)

Viceice (462967) | about 3 years ago | (#37465700)

How about using the physical card itself as the unique identifier?

- Using a laser, etch a unique 3D circular pattern on a predetermined area on the card.
- Upon use, the card is scanned by a rotating laser. This is sort of the same as reading data off a multilayered DVD, except the laser rotates, and the groves are not as fine as on a DVD, so it's more forgiving to abuse.

This makes it pretty much impossible to skim using any sort of swipe action scanner or 2D scanner/camera.

Come to think about it this is pretty much a punch card, except that the pattern is not apparent to the naked eye and 3 dimensional instead of 2...

Re:Very broken system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37464996)

"I'm ANNOYED that my card can be used without either a signature or a pin number verification being used."

I hate to tell you, but I can use your old credit card without either a signature or a pin number verification on the web for the last 20 years just by copying the numbers off it.

Re:Very broken system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465018)

Cash if your friend. You never lose more than you carry.
Online banking (not credit cards) seems pretty safe too.

Re:Very broken system (1)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | about 3 years ago | (#37466052)

Online banking (not credit cards) seems pretty safe too.

You seem to be implying that credit cards aren't safe? One of the main benefits of a credit card is that it has no connection with your money, you are spending the bank's credit. Any fraudulent transactions are the bank's problem not yours. Using a credit card is much safer than other means of payment as at no point are you risking your own money. Because the bank are liable for fraudulent transactions they react very quickly to any issues and work pro-actively to prevent fraud.

Re:Very broken system (1)

daid303 (843777) | about 3 years ago | (#37465056)

My bank fitted all ATM's with translucent green card slots, and a "idle" picture that shows "Do NOT insert card if slot does not match photo". Good luck on hiding your skimmer in something translucent.

Re:Very broken system (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465460)

My bank did this too. Took about 3 weeks before we saw the first new skimmers.

They're translucent green, almost look like a screen cover for a phone.
They fit under the new green card slot, where the green plastic protrudes over the actual card entrance to the machine.
You have to look CLOSE to notice it; almost invisible.
Amazing little devices, they'll actually using the insertion of the card itself to generate the power required to record the magstripe.
The camera that shoots the PIN is actually in a different location, using a telephoto.

Now they're talking about building anti-LOS boxes around all the ATMs to prevent the telephoto shot.
(note that there are already anti-photo coatings on the screen, they're taking video of your hand movement and infering your PIN from that since the numbers are always in the same place on the screen)

Next thing we need to do is start using all touchpad PIN entry and cypher it by having each of the keys (0-9) in a random place on the screen each time, that way, once you've entered your PIN, there's no way to know what number a certain gesture corresponded to.

Re:Very broken system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465706)

And what about blind people - how will they enter their PIN ?

Re:Very broken system (1)

dredwerker (757816) | about 3 years ago | (#37465542)

My bank fitted all ATM's with translucent green card slots, and a "idle" picture that shows "Do NOT insert card if slot does not match photo". Good luck on hiding your skimmer in something translucent.

You could just 3d print a cash machine and put a small lcd monitor in it and say sorry but your card has been kept please phone this number. Lots of cash machines aren't in banks anymore.

Re:Very broken system (1)

daid303 (843777) | about 3 years ago | (#37465826)

I don't know where you live, but here all ATM's are in walls, so unless you print a whole building...

Re:Very broken system (1)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | about 3 years ago | (#37466058)

You could just 3d print a cash machine and put a small lcd monitor in it and say sorry but your card has been kept please phone this number. Lots of cash machines aren't in banks anymore.

There have been a number of cases where criminals have set up their own ATMs to do just this. They don't need to fake them, they just buy them from a company who sells ATMs to independent retailers.

Re:Very broken system (1)

_4rp4n3t (1617415) | about 3 years ago | (#37465060)

Actually, Westpac (also in Australia) have come up with a pretty simple solution. The card reader slot is made out of translucent green plastic, with a holographic padlock [wordpress.com] etched into it. Not impossible to fake of course, but less than trivial.

Re:Very broken system (1, Informative)

lakeland (218447) | about 3 years ago | (#37465204)

As someone who has helped to bring those card's you're annoyed at...

Firstly, the security in those cards is exceedingly high. The banks are quite paranoid about extremely sophisticated dodgy merchants and/or consumers.
But that aside, you're not taking much risk with the cards - if you report the card stolen then you'll get the money back. Yes you have to monitor it and there is a slight delay in getting it resolved. I don't know, perhaps I've drunk the kool-aid too much, it doesn't feel like a big cost for the benefit to me.

In terms of why you have one - it's been both consumers and merchants asking for it. From a merchant's perspective being able to process sales faster means fewer staff required, more sales, etc. From a customer's perspective, it saves almost 30 seconds over say the chip+pin.

Speaking only for myself, etc.

Re:Very broken system (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | about 3 years ago | (#37465418)

if you report the card stolen then you'll get the money back.

Thats not really the point is it, when I go out with cash, I carry what I need to use and thats it, which normally means £20-30.

But the credit card based paywave stuff as far as I know pretty much lets you have up to your card limit so long as the payments were small without ever challenging for authentication. I would hope that the banks would start restricting it if they found me spending a £xxxx in small transactions but I'm not convinced.

That means that street crime becomes worth the effort again, someone lifts my wallet (either with stealth or violence) and they could gain access to large amounts of money.

Re:Very broken system (2)

xaxa (988988) | about 3 years ago | (#37465544)

if you report the card stolen then you'll get the money back.

Thats not really the point is it, when I go out with cash, I carry what I need to use and thats it, which normally means £20-30.

But the credit card based paywave stuff as far as I know pretty much lets you have up to your card limit so long as the payments were small without ever challenging for authentication.

No, it prompts for a PIN "sometimes" for security. I expect if there are too many Paywave transactions in succession.

The maximum transaction is £15 (for Visa Paywave in the UK), and the retailers who use it accept the fraud risk (they pay back the bank, I think), so it's likely to stay as takeaway food and drinks, newsagents, etc. I think the criminal is likely to get more profit more easily by simply taking your cash.

Re:Very broken system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37466056)

A couple points:

Firstly it isn't that much money, as well as a per-transaction limit there's a per (time period) limit where the bank can configure the time period but it's usually a day.

Secondly, very shortly after a card is reported stolen it will stop working on terminals and also notify the bank of the attempt. That makes it pretty high risk for the thieves.

Yes it's not perfect, I think of it much the same as carrying cash and I think the lower use of cash does discourage wallet theft compared to the US.

If it's any consolation I haven't heard of any increase in crime across Japan or Korea where similar technology is now fairly common.

Re:Very broken system (1)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | about 3 years ago | (#37466072)

Even if someone does steal your card and max out your limit, the worst case scenario is that your card is declined next time you try and use it prompting you to phone the bank, who then reverse the fraudulent transactions. Slightly inconvenient but not very as card services almost always have a 24/7 number and can solve these issues in minutes.

Re:Very broken system (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | about 3 years ago | (#37466134)

My point wasn't about the inconvience. It's more about the fact that it becomes worthwhile for someone to try to nick my wallet again. For the last decade, as people switched to cards, they started reducing the amount of cash carried with them. It just wasn't worth the risk of trying to steal someones wallet to get a couple of small notes and some loose change.

As someone mentioned above, eventually the card prompts for a PIN, but even assuming that was once 5th transaction (and I suspect under normal circumstances it will be less frequent than that) and with a £15 limit per transaction that is still £60/card in the wallet unless you can contact the bank to report the card stolen.

It's petty street crime which I worry about with these schemes, not high-tech skimming.

Re:Very broken system (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | about 3 years ago | (#37465314)

While I agree with most of your points, I think that you're doing something wrong if you'd be up for a large sum of money in case when your card is lost. Why not have a subaccount in your bank, that has no access via a card and where you put all the savings? I never have more than 2-5 hundred bucks on the account accessible via debit card.

Re:Very broken system (1)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | about 3 years ago | (#37465968)

pinless low value transactions

we'll be up for a very large sum of money

Leaving aside the obvious contradiction in these two statements, the scenario you described isn't really how this works. If someone did steal your card, yes they would be able to buy a few cups of coffee with it, despite not having a pin or signature. The ceiling for contactless payments is normally £15 so running up a "very large sum of money" is going to be pretty difficult. Also there is very little incentive for a criminal to do this, criminals who steal credit cards use them to buy high value, easily resold items so they end up with cash. Fencing cups of coffee, sandwiches and newspapers isn't going to make anyone any money.

Plus even if someone did steal your card, and somehow manage to run up a large number of fraudulent charges, these payments are covered by the liability shift as it is a credit card. They aren't stealing your money, they are making fraudulent transaction that your credit card company is liable for. So once you notice your card is missing or fraudulent transactions on your statement all you have to do is report it and the transactions will be removed. Almost all banks have a 24/7 free to call number for reporting fraud and can remedy the situation in minutes. Remember it is in their interests to prevent fraud as it is their money they are protecting.

The banks need to be held more accountable.

In the situation you described the banks are held entirely accountable. They are liable for any losses resulting from card fraud and are responsible for detecting and dealing with the consequences of fraud. I am not sure what else you expect them to do here.

A "GANG"...uhhhh (0)

Dj Stingray (178766) | about 3 years ago | (#37464912)

A gang using 3D printers. Hardcore. Must have been a gang from Utah. Only white people live here.

economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37464916)

90's was the internet. 1890's was electricity. Impeach president for slowing next age of innovation ruining economy.

And did you know... (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 years ago | (#37464932)

... that CAMERAS can actually be used to take pictures of naked people?!

It's foolish to blame the tool for the crime. That takes people.

Re:And did you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465000)

I didn't believe this, so have tested it and indeed they can.

Re:And did you know... (1)

_4rp4n3t (1617415) | about 3 years ago | (#37465042)

And now you're in gaol?

Re:And did you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465480)

I completely agree with you.People should be blamed for all the stuff like that!It is really foolish to put the blame on some kind of tool!

Vacation [vacationhomes.net]

Re:And did you know... (-1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 3 years ago | (#37466054)

Since when is taking photos of naked people a crime? Playboy magazine has been around since 1953. You Christian bigots really need to get a life.

How long till they can print money? (2, Insightful)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about 3 years ago | (#37464962)

I've always wondered what the economics of the world of cheap, prolific, effective 3D printers is like. If anyone can create basically any material good, what's the economics of that place like?

Star Trek had replicators, which could basically make anything, even food or water (except for a few things which were a de-facto currency). They were basically communists, which doesn't work with people being people but might work if anyone could create whatever they wanted.

But what about things that can't be replicated/printed? Like electricity, or land for housing, or water/food? Trek says that water and food are replicable, but with our current 3D printers obviously we can't make that just yet unless you can eat plastic.

What's the economy of the western world going to look like if the only thing we need is material for 3D printers, power, land, food and water? Will provision of the un-replicable become the job of the state?

Re:How long till they can print money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37464992)

and you think copyright is bad... Everything 3D objects (including food if the replicators can make it) would have thier copyright making new technology unusable.

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | about 3 years ago | (#37465020)

It will be hard to get there.

Look at the Shapeways videos [shapeways.com] . There's quite a lot of human labor required, and it misses on economies of scale.

I think for a long time it'll be like with printers. Anybody can print an entire book at home if they want to, but getting it to the point where it really looks like a book is difficult and much more expensive than just buying it. Things will only change radically if the cost falls down so much that it's only a small percentage over mass production.

Probably the first change will be towards more customization. You'll still buy say, a computer mouse, but if you want to be really cool you'll print a custom casing for it.

Re:How long till they can print money? (2)

lxs (131946) | about 3 years ago | (#37465142)

The Espresso book machine [ondemandbooks.com] does just that. You put in a pdf and a paperback pops out.

Right now, there are only a couple of them installed around the world, but I'm sure that in time others will make similar systems and before you know it every copy place and bookstore will have three.

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

Gori (526248) | about 3 years ago | (#37465124)

You are forgetting the basic laws of conservation of energy and mass. There is a reason by replicators are a science fiction tech.

Creating mass out of energy/electricity would require m/(c^2) Joules or energy. With the current speed of light and price of electricity, I would hate to see the power bill for replicating a glass of water.

Even if you are not creating stuff out of energy, but just printing it from some base material, that base stuff needs to be produced, with the relevant chemical/material properties. That is not exactly for free either.

So don't worry, the traditional economy isn't going anywhere just yet.

Re:How long till they can print money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465192)

So don't worry, the traditional economy isn't going anywhere just yet.

It will when (if?) truly intelligent AI takes over virtually all human jobs. But not now, as you said.

Re:How long till they can print money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465250)

Well, in theory you could get most of the energy to create something by breaking down something of similar mass. I would assume that the technology to turn energy into a desired form of matter would also be able to turn matter into energy.

Re:How long till they can print money? (2)

Animats (122034) | about 3 years ago | (#37465178)

I've always wondered what the economics of the world of cheap, prolific, effective 3D printers is like. If anyone can create basically any material good, what's the economics of that place like?

The economics of 3D printing are worth noting. Complexity doesn't cost much, but material volume does. Watch size objects, yes. Auto bumpers, no.

This is somewhat different from CNC machining, where complexity and high detail costs machining time. You have to use smaller tools and can't remove metal fast in high-detail areas. Big smooth surfaces can be machined quickly with big tools.

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

doomsday_device (1063146) | about 3 years ago | (#37465182)

Actually, we have been living in a very similar situation since home power-tools became available. There is so much stuff you can make for yourself literally in minutes.

People in the eastern bloc actually lived a lot like that. Food, electricity and housing (and a scarce collection of consumer goods) were provided by the state, a lot of the rest was made at home. They used to get blueprints for clothes they wanted and produce them themselves.

It just gets problematic as long as there is any discernable difference between the self-made product and a commercial alternative. Any small defect in the self-made product will lead to a percieved lack of value.

Otherwise, the economy will get more intellectual property based, I guess.

BTW, power and water are already provided by the state in some western countrys. Food and land though, not so much.

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 3 years ago | (#37465424)

I've already posted a thought experiment along these lines - whereby I invent a 3D copier device that can copy arbitrary items - regardless of how complicated they are - and the end result is composed of the same material as the original. So you could, for instance, put a meat pie in one end and get another, broadly identical and perfectly edible meat pie out the other. On a larger scale, you could put a washing machine or a television in one end and get another - perfectly operational - washing machine/television out the other.

For the purposes of this experiment, we'll assume that the machine is cheap enough to buy, doesn't cost a great deal to run, can produce complicated items as a whole (as opposed to right now when the best you could do would be to build component parts which somebody would have to assemble) and has little in the way of size limits. You could, for instance, walk down the street, see a car you like and say "I like that. I'll have one of those." and poof! You've got your own car.

It sounds like a lovely idea, but I think anyone inventing this would be killed. The reason being that the implications for society are huge - and I don't think society could change quickly enough to cope.

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

Plunky (929104) | about 3 years ago | (#37465564)

It sounds like a lovely idea, but I think anyone inventing this would be killed. The reason being that the implications for society are huge - and I don't think society could change quickly enough to cope.

Can the machine reproduce itself? Like a virus invading a host organism, the rate of spread will be important.. if you invent such a machine, then the first thing to do is not sell it, but to make a bunch of copies and distribute them far and wide..

Thats because "rich" will have changed. When there are no more "have"s and "have not"s, everybody will be rich, and the only people who will be richer than anybody else will be the ones who provide power and raw materials.. and that certainly won't be you.

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

jimicus (737525) | about 3 years ago | (#37465646)

Thats because "rich" will have changed. When there are no more "have"s and "have not"s, everybody will be rich,

Not necessarily. It would take time to distribute the theoretical machine and raw materials to make one. I suspect it would be destroyed long before sufficient copies could be made or distributed around the world.

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 3 years ago | (#37465630)

I've always wondered what the economics of the world of cheap, prolific, effective 3D printers is like.

It will be just like the cheap, prolific, effective color jet printers we have now. The printer will be cheap, but the cartridges will be expensive. And your printer will be able to print lots of stuff, but it will never be as good as a commercial printer. For instance, by the time I get to own a printer that prints a house, or prints a decent painting, in a couple of days, someone else will have a printer that can print a Mona Lisa, or a working plane, in less than 2 seconds.

Star Trek had replicators, which could basically make anything, even food or water (except for a few things which were a de-facto currency).

Star Trek is an utopian fantasy. Now don't get me wrong, we can certainly learn from sci-fi, but Star Trek's technology is still so far off. I'm not sure humanity can even survive that long.

They were basically communists, which doesn't work with people being people but might work if anyone could create whatever they wanted.

That part will work fine as long as the originals are killed off and replaced through a replicator/transporter. Making people will be the ultimate solution. I envision it's going to be a genocide of massive proportions (assuming humanity can even make it that far).

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 3 years ago | (#37465676)

And yet lawmakers think this is still science-fiction. Whent they will realize what is possible, they'll just try to outlaw that. *sigh*

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 3 years ago | (#37465810)

I've always wondered what the economics of the world of cheap, prolific, effective 3D printers is like. If anyone can create basically any material good, what's the economics of that place like? ......
What's the economy of the western world going to look like if the only thing we need is material for 3D printers, power, land, food and water?

And now you have your answer: Fear mongering, FUD, and and backlash stories like this will blacken the name of 3D printers and the technology will never take off the ground to reach the situations you have imagined. The multitude of vested manufacturing and artificial scarcity interests will torpedo this technology at every possible step.

This story probably isn't true. If it is true, it is probably exaggerated. If it is exaggerated, it has been so by persons being paid to sully the reputation of a budding technology. This is how the world works.

Re:How long till they can print money? (1)

daid303 (843777) | about 3 years ago | (#37465844)

1 simple thing. Raw materials.

I'm a happy owner of a personal 3D printer for the last week and a half. And they are nowhere near perfect yet (I wouldn't be able to print a convincing ATM front replacement) however, they cost electricity and raw quality plastic. So once you get that fusion reactor going, and manage to recycle plastic to the same quality (recycling degrades quality) then we'll be talking.

This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465002)

Criminals use tools to commit crimes. Tools sought for questioning by police. Criminals plea bargain for lesser sentence in exchange for testifying against tools.

Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465012)

I find it funny these people manage to easily install these systems. Since the majority of these atms are just outside of banks. A simple solution would be to put cages around the atm like they do with soda machine. There is also the camera already built-in to these atms but they are obviously never checked. Another more expensive solution would be to rebuild these atms to be a more solid piece where parts can't be easily separated from each other.

These solutions won't stop card scanners where you purchase things but you have the option for cash in those cases.

Re:Funny (1)

rhook (943951) | about 3 years ago | (#37465376)

Another more expensive solution would be to rebuild these atms to be a more solid piece where parts can't be easily separated from each other.

You need not separate any of the machines parts to install a card skimmer, it goes over the existing slot.

Goin' Digital! (4, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 3 years ago | (#37465026)

I was having a discussion with my daughter (an artist) the other day about protecting her work, and much of what we discussed applies to this technology--when you get right down to it, the moment you convert any product into a digital format, and expose it to the internet in any way, you lose a great deal of control of that creation, if not all.

This technology is about to do that to physical objects, by proxy--the dimensions are what are actually being digitized. The end result will be the same though--freely available physical products. The only catch is that the user must provide the physical medium...kind of like someone providing a blank CD in order to utilize an MP3 file. I predict that, one day, the king of "most downloaded" torrents will be a 3D printer file for a bong.

This is the same genie that the recording/electronics industries let out of its bottle about 28 years ago. He appears to be having much adventure and does not wish to return to his bottle. Ever.

Re:Goin' Digital! (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 3 years ago | (#37465078)

Maybe she could focus less on protecting her work and focus more on marketing her skill. That's taking a strength of the internet and making it her own.

There was one author (of what type of work, Idk) who posted on here how he GPLed (iirc, otherwise just freewared) all his own work because he got commissioned more work that way. Maybe someone knows who I'm talking about and can provide more info.

Re:Goin' Digital! (1)

biodata (1981610) | about 3 years ago | (#37465324)

The problem is that this ties you into working forever. The other model (getting people to keep paying for the same thing forever) ensures that you can 'retire' in comfort after a few hits.

Re:Goin' Digital! (0)

Lucractius (649116) | about 3 years ago | (#37465470)

Or you could work hard... produce good work... get paid more for it... and then retire comfortably after building up sufficient savings/capital/financial independence that you feel set for retirement...

Like every other person that works for a living.

Being a creative person should != magic special income forever job.
At a certain point... the scale tips, from being entitled to your fair share... to stealing from the common shared creative wealth of humanity for your own personal gain.

Re:Goin' Digital! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465784)

A typical engineer's attitude towards art. Let me guess - you don't make money by writing the book, you get it by doing readings or something right? You don't make money by painting the painting, but by charging for t-shirts of the painting. You know what bud, there is absolutely nothing in this world that you can't do that can't be done more cheaply by a team somewhere in Eastern Europe, Asia or India. No skill you have, no knowledge you hold, no talent (because you certainly don't believe that talent is worth rewarding given your attitude towards artists) that can't be replicated by a few hundred thousand less well compensated people around the globe. Think about this in 20 years when you attacked the foundation of the artists income. There will be poetic justice (not that you believe in the merits of poetry or literature because that doesn't fit nicely into your worker drone paradigm). Because your job is on pretty fucking shaky ground as well - because if a company can get the same level of drivel (and your post indicates that your intellectual skills aren't anything exceptional) out of someone much cheaper - they'll turf you like a used tampon.

Welcome to everyone else's life (1, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 3 years ago | (#37465756)

I don't get to retire from work after doing a few things particularly well. If I did, well I'd probably be retired. There's been a few projects that I've done a really great job getting done despite various things standing in the way and so on. However they don't go and shower millions of dollars on me and say "Go retire at 30!" No, I get paid to show up to work each day and I have to keep showing up, keep doing my job, if I want to keep getting paid.

Same deal with people who produce physical goods to sell. If you build a house and sell it, you get whatever price you sold it for and that's it. You don't get further income from that house. When the owner resells it, you don't get a cut, if the value increases, they don't owe you further money. If you want to make more money, you have to continue to make more houses and sell them.

So it makes sense to, as the constitution says " (secure) for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." You can't expect them to work for free, they need to be able to make money on their efforts. The "Information should be completely free," crowd is living in a fantasy world. However they shouldn't be allowed to just ride on one thing forever. Like anyone else, they should have to keep working if they want to keep making money.

Remember that our society relies on people continuing to work. If everyone worked only a little and then retired, well we'd be real fucked. We need things to keep getting done. That's why you need to work for a long time before you retire. There is no reason that creative types should be the one exception to the rule.

Re:Goin' Digital! (1)

matunos (1587263) | about 3 years ago | (#37465354)

You can watch sports on TV, and many people do, but people still go to the stadiums.

I can see just about any famous painting I want with a Google Images search, but I still go to museums.

There's tons of fake designer handbags on the market, but Coach and Burberry still take in a lot of cash.

Sometimes, there's just no substitute for the real thing.

Re:Goin' Digital! (1)

daid303 (843777) | about 3 years ago | (#37465862)

I predict that, one day, the king of "most downloaded" torrents will be a 3D printer file for a bong.

It's named a "coat hook" but... well, judge for yourself http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:10537 [thingiverse.com]

Time to migrate to chip cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465102)

I work for a large european payment service provider and I know the solution to this problem.
Start using chip cards. Magstripe-only cards are insecure and susceptible to skimming.
In my company we don't allow fallback to magstripe in ATMs and I also think this is the official policy of Visa and MasterCard.

Re:Time to migrate to chip cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465358)

Of course you know that the chipcard system also has serious vulnerabilities making it susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks.
It has to be dumbed down so it only supports secure authentication and not all those silly plaintext and pinless modes.
Unbelievable that the system has been designed the way it is.

Re:Time to migrate to chip cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465686)

PIN-less mode in an ATM?

Now I WOULD... (3, Funny)

slider2800 (1058930) | about 3 years ago | (#37465154)

...download a car. And print it!

Re:Now I WOULD... (1)

blackicye (760472) | about 3 years ago | (#37465226)

...download a car. And print it!

Until someone who has economies of scale can print the same car at half of the cost of you printing your own.

Re:Now I WOULD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465308)

Print the money needed to buy the raw materials needed for printing the car!!!

Re:Now I WOULD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37465934)

How about First we print the printer to print the money with?

on second thought. a printer inside a printer...
mother of god... // PRINTCEPTION //

Re:Now I WOULD... (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | about 3 years ago | (#37465334)

What I'd love is download a car, PHOTOSHOP it and THEN print it :-)

How dare the government? (1)

matunos (1587263) | about 3 years ago | (#37465310)

How dare they constrain these hard-working job creators with their stifling government regulations!

Ban 3D printers (3, Interesting)

zennyboy (1002544) | about 3 years ago | (#37465356)

Used for illegal purposes? BAN 3D PRINTERS. And cassette tapes. And knives!

Z

Re:Ban 3D printers (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 years ago | (#37465510)

Why would government ban it, if it could just apply a tax and make a profit of illegal use?

Re:Ban 3D printers (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 years ago | (#37465516)

Why would government ban it, if it could just apply a tax and make a profit of illegal use?
It's not like this is hurting any of the big corporations, so there's no reason for government to stop it.

Re:Ban 3D printers (1)

qxcv (2422318) | about 3 years ago | (#37465628)

It's not like this is hurting any of the big corporations, so there's no reason for government to stop it.

It's hurting the people running the corporations, who are arguably more influential than the corporations themselves.

Re:Ban 3D printers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37466096)

Don't forget cars!

omg my first /. car analogy :)

And the answer is: (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 3 years ago | (#37465390)

Pay in Bitcoins!

CAD Design (1)

skyma (2466646) | about 3 years ago | (#37466024)

Minimal technical detail is necessary to develop a working 3D CAD model; if all you have is a drawing on a napkin, we have worked with less! We can reverse engineer your part or prototype and develop an exact CAD model for production. (Including 2D to 3D from existing plans/drawings) [url=http://www.vulcanmold.com] injection molding [/url] Our CAD designers work with you throughout the design process to develop exactly the product you want. Current technology allows us to e-mail a viewable 3D model to you at various points in the design process so you know exactly the status and direction of your project. (Example) With lead times around 1-2 weeks for CAD work, we can get your project jump-started quickly and provide a quick turnaround. Being wholly based in the USA, Epsilon reduces the communication difficulties and time lags that often plague companies operating overseas.

Personalizable products! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37466028)

The "templates" you download will be parameterisable. Think sandals that actually fit, dolls with the child's family's faces, racquet handles designed for *your* hand. Bring it on!

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