Romanian Valentin Boanta, 34, has invented a device which, he says, could make the world’s ATMs impregnable even to tech-savvy criminals like himself. Boanta is six months into a five-year sentence locked at the Vaslui penitentiary for supplying gadgets an organized crime gang used to conceal ATM skimmers, which can copy data from an unsuspecting ATM user’s card so a clone can be created. He said he had started to make the devices for the sheer excitement of it and denies ever planning to use them himself, saying he only sold them to others. Boanta says his arrest in 2009 and trial brought contrition, as he realized the impact of his actions and felt an urge to make amends. It also brought the former industrial design student a flash of technical inspiration.
“When I got caught I became happy. This liberation opened the way to working for the good side,” Boanta said in an interview, according to reuters.com. “Crime was like a drug for me. After I was caught, I was happy I escaped from this adrenaline addiction,” he said. “So that the other part, in which I started to develop security solutions, started to emerge.”
Boanta says his “Secure Revolving System-SRS” can be installed in any ATM. It allows the bank card to be inserted longer side first and then rotates it to prevent skimmers being able to lock on to the magnetic data strip. The system returns the card to its user with a reverse rotation. “Every ATM can be penetrated through a skimming crime. My security solution, SRS, makes an ATM unbreachable.”, Boanta said.
The SRS, funded and developed by a technology firm near Bucharest called MB Telecom, is patented and won an award this year at the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva. The inventor and company are not yet saying how much it will cost, but insist it will be available soon.
Much has been written about this award and what it can represent for Romania’s reputation, but nobody mentioned that Valentin Boanta has been waiting for over a year the issuing in writing of the sentence ruled by the High Court of Cassation and Justice, without which he cannot file a pardon demand. Now, Valentin only wants ICCJ to do its job and write this sentence. Everything else is up to Valentin Boanta!