War on Cash


The Washington Post ran a story with this headline (linked on the Drudge Report):

Hackers Are Making ATMs Spit Out Cash Like Slot Machines

First of all, I don’t believe it. ATMs have multiple safety and fallback measures in place. There are limits to how much cash can be spit out. They are not slot machines. And they are not electronic voting machines, which designed to have back doors.

Imagine, the report says that “criminal gangs” are hacking the machines. And here is another preposterous claim, that there are “… similar attacks in Mexico, in which criminals used a modified medical endoscope to access a port inside the machines and install malware.”

Also according to the report, a hacker convention included a demonstration of how this could be done, no doubt with a jerry-rigged machine and David Copperfield flair.

I’m calling bullshit on this story. It is simply a backstory, a pretext, an excuse to install biometric technology on ATM machines and, eventually, to add another argument to do away with cash altogether.

I’ve actually seen television commercials in Mexico urging people to use electronic payment instead of cash, and I believe the clips were for the Oxxo convenience store chain. The argument was that it was safer and reduced the prevalence of counterfeit currency.

Considering that coins and paper money have been around for thousands of years, the war on cash is nothing short of a war on civilization itself.



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