Rub shoulders with leading experts and industry disruptors at TNW Conference →

The heart of tech

This article was published on October 30, 2013


    Researcher hacks counterfeit money detector to accept any piece of paper as a valid banknote

    Researcher hacks counterfeit money detector to accept any piece of paper as a valid banknote
    Emil Protalinski
    Story by

    Emil Protalinski

    Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, incl Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, TechSpot, ZDNet, and CNET. Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

    IOActive security researcher Ruben Santamarta figured out a way to hack into the firmware of a counterfeit money detector and make it accept any piece of paper as a valid banknote. The device, which happens to be widely used in Spain, is called Secureuro and is specifically designed to ensure Euro banknotes are legitimate. Until, of course, Santamarta had his way with it:

    Santamarta discovered he could access the firmware, which is not encrypted, on the Secureuro without any physical tampering of the hardware. “My intention is not to forge a banknote that could pass as legitimate, that is a criminal offense,” he explains. “We are not exploiting a vulnerability in the device, just a design feature.”

    Hacking a counterfeit money detector for fun and non-profit

    Top Image Credit – Thinkstock