Greg Cohoon (drmellow) wrote,
Greg Cohoon

Foiling Counterfeiting Countermeasures

Really neat story found on Bruce Schneier's security-related blog (syndicated on LJ as bruce_schneier):
Counterfeiters Pass Off 5s As 100s

PALM HARBOR - Twice on Saturday, customers at the Music Exchange handed the cashier $100 bills, store owner Jason Bandy said. One was to purchase a DVD of the movie "Sin City." The other was to buy a CD of the late rapper Tupac Shakur.

The cashier dutifully ran a special pen across the bills to ensure they weren't counterfeit, and both bills passed the test, Bandy said.

Trouble was, as Bandy learned later, they were $5 bills, not $100 bills....

The notes were all $5 bills that had been bleached and altered to look like $100 bills, sheriff's investigators said. They passed muster with the pen because it determines only whether the paper used to manufacture the currency is legitimate, Bandy said.

Read the full story....
Schneier adds the following commentary:
As a security measure, the merchants use a chemical pen that determines if the bills are counterfeit. But that's not exactly what the pen does. The pen only verifies that the paper is legitimate. The criminals successfully exploited this security hole.

Read Schneier's commentary and other responses to the story....
It's just another example of how criminals will adapt to security measures. I think the counterfeiters were pretty clever -- I wonder how many times people have successfully passed off bills like this in the past.
Tags: security

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