UF's Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research invents ’Skim Reaper’ to detect credit card skimmers

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. An associate professor at UF has created a solution to stop your financial information from being stolen through credit card skimmers.

“About 3 years ago I had my credit card stolen. It wasn't the first time and it certainly hasn't been my last time since that's happened,” Co-Director of the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research Patrick Traynor said.

Traynor had enough of his card's data being stolen and wanted to find a way to protect others.

“I got frustrated because I've spent my entire professional career working at informational security and if I can't protect myself, how can regular people have a chance,” Traynor said.

Traynor along with some UF students began talking to people who faced the same issues and started working on a solution. He teamed up with law enforcement officers to create the 'Skim Reaper,' the device to detect card skimmers.

Card skimmers are illegally installed devices that skim consumer credit cards at the ATMs, gas pumps and retail stores.

“We've had to manufacture these cards. We've been using 3D printers that we have here in the lab to built our boxes. The students have been soldering, they've been writing software,” Traynor said.

The ‘Skim Reaper' is being tested in New York City and right here in Alachua County.

With the success of the device, trainer believes there's room for improvement for its accessibility.

“This device here is great as a research prototype but we really like to shrink it down into something as small as a credit card."

Traynor is looking forward to this device to be used internationally to stop credit card skimmers.