How do I copy credit cards?



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How do I copy credit cards?​

Few people think about it, but credit cards are rewritable media with a small capacity (~2 KB). If you swipe the magnetic stripe of a credit card across the head of a tape recorder, you will hear a sound. This is a modulated signal that contains the account number, the cardholder's name, and some additional information. Of course, modern credit cards are a little more complicated than a regular tape recorder, but the principle of operation is absolutely identical. As is often the case with many technical solutions that are outdated, but accepted and used everywhere, because of the implementation itself, credit cards do not actually have any serious copy protection.

How does a typical credit card work?

Depending on the bank and card type, there may be 3 elements installed on the card:

1. Magnetic stripe on the back of the card — in fact, there are three magnetic stripes, the so-called Track 1, 2 and 3.

The surface of the magnetic layer of a credit card under a microscope.

Theoretically, armed with scissors, tape, cardboard and a piece of tape, you can make your own magnetic card from acorns and matches but it's easier to buy a ready-made one or use an old expired credit card. (Yes, banks cut invalid credit cards precisely to prevent such fraud). Various VISA gift cards are ideally suited for such purposes, in addition to the recordable magnetic layer, they also have a presentable appearance.

Head of the card reader, three elements for reading magnetic tracks are clearly visible.

Credit cards usually use Track 1 and 2. In the past, the PIN code was stored in encrypted form on track number 3, so that you can work with ATMs in offline mode. But with the development of communication systems and the blatant vulnerability of this approach, the last ATMs that worked with an offline pin on Track 3 went into oblivion in the mid-90s. Currently, Track 3 is practically not used in credit cards.

2. EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa Chip) chip-similar to a SIM card and having similar electronic characteristics. This chip is responsible for checking card transactions on EMV-compatible ATMs and was created by an international group of credit companies in response to the excessive ease of copying credit cards with magnetic tape.

I didn't deal with this problem seriously, but as far as I understand, it's not enough just to copy the contents of the chip to another card, primarily because there is often no information on the chip (sometimes a copy of Track 2 is stored on the chip). The check is performed at the hardware level, and there are references on the Internet that the ATM generates a certain number, to which the chip should give the correct answer. However, in many banks, the check is simply for the presence of an EMV chip from this bank. In particular, this is how Sberbank cards worked a few years ago (I don't know how they work now).

In other words, if you write a magnetic stripe on a card without an EMV chip or a card with an EMV chip of another bank, the ATM will not accept such a card, but if you roll up the track on an expired card of the same bank with the correct EMV chip,you can withdraw money.

In any case, EMV only protects the ability to withdraw money from ATMs, and only those that have this function. In the vast majority of payment terminals and ATMs around the world, only a magnetic card is still read without EMV.

3. RFID (Radio-frequency identification) — chip and antenna for contactless card reading. Usually, RFID is embedded in the plastic itself and is visible if you look at the card in bright light at an angle.

The RFID contactless payment system has no hardware connection to the operation of the EMV chip and the magnetic layer. In particular, the number of the RFID chip that is used to make payments has nothing to do with the number on the plastic or magnetic strip. All communication is done exclusively through bank servers, where account, credit card, and RFID chip numbers are associated with a single account.

In fact, if you remove the RFID chip and antenna by dissolving the card in acetone, the RFID will work, while the magnetic card will be destroyed. Banks just want ordinary people to associate all these functions with a single payment document. Unlike EMV, an RFID chip does not participate in card authentication at an ATM or anywhere else and does not affect your ability to create a clone of the magnetic layer of a particular card. Such a copy will simply not be able to make contactless payments. It is possible to copy an RFID chip, but this is the topic of a separate large article.

4. CVC2 (Card Verification Number 2) – a control number of 3 digits usually on the reverse side (sometimes CVC2 is printed on the front side) for making online purchases. CVC2 is printed on the card itself, but is not stored anywhere on the magnetic track.

All other elements, such as holograms, various printing, letters and numbers stamped in plastic, are purely cosmetic elements. As we have already seen, a credit card is a carrier of information, and it is the information that makes the card credit.

How do I copy cards with a magnetic stripe?
Hardware: MSR 206

There is a fairly large range of hardware for working with magnetic cards. The best choice is MSR 206 compatible devices: they are the most common and there is the most software available for them. They are purchased through any online store such as Ebay or Amazon. The device operates via a serial com port interface. But don't worry if you don't have a com port: most readers have a built-in converter and connect via USB. The cost ranges from $ 100 to $ 300, the devices differ in configuration and design, but there is no fundamental difference between them.

After connecting the device to the system, in the Task Manager, pay attention to which com the device is installed on.

MagCard Write\Read Utility Program 2.01

The software that comes with the device driver on disk doesn't work well. In my opinion, its development has remained unchanged since 2002. Most of the cards I tried to write using the official utility didn't work. Errors when reading and writing, an inconvenient interface (in particular, it is very easy to call the card erase command by mistake), periodic loss of communication with the device, and the most disgusting thing is that after the first launch, the program monopolizes the com port on which MSR206 is connected, and interferes with the work of other applications, up to the inevitable uninstall. Therefore, I do not advise you to install this monster from programming even out of curiosity, because there is The Jerm — one of the best applications for working with magnetic cards.

The Jerm MSR206 Utility

An application created by a well-known carder and specialist in document forgery, under the network nickname Jerm, so the program is named after the author. Until 2007, new versions of the utility were published on the site But this project has been closed for several years, and the development of the program is frozen at version 1.78. But the existing functions are more than enough. According to rumors, Jerm is either serving a prison sentence for his overly productive activities, or he decided to just lie low.

Settings Tab

Launch it TheJerm.exe go to Settings, select the com port where you have MSR206 connected, and click set port. If the connection was successful, the message should appear: INITIALIZING... MSR206 FOUND ON COM X... READY. Where X is the com port number on which MSR206 is installed. If desired, you can get information about the model and firmware version of the card reader, as well as test the LEDs.


Before proceeding, start your firewall and close the application completely TheJerm.exe Internet access. This can be done using the standard Windows firewall: "Control Panel\System and Security \ Windows Firewall" or your main firewall program, for example, in KIS, you need to add the program to the list of weak restrictions or simply block all network traffic. The programs in this article do not contain malicious code and do not show any network activity, but you can not take risks and trust anyone in this case. There are a lot of fake versions of TheJerm that look the same, some even perform their function, but send data about the cards you read to attackers. This precaution will not be superfluous when working with any software for working with cards, except for our own software. Ideally, it is better to use a separate computer for all actions without an Internet connection.

Actions Tab

To work with the program, you will need the Actions tab

Read — read the card. The indicator on the MSR206 will turn yellow. After the card is read, its contents will appear in the ASCII and HEX windows, as well as in the Track 1, 2, and 3 fields.If you want to save the image of the received card, click "File\Save as...". If you want to make a duplicate right away, click Write. And swipe a blank card over MSR206 — the card is copied.

Erase Track (s) — if you want to rewrite a card that already has some information (for example, an expired bank card), then you need to clear the card before using it again. To do this, select all three tracks (for reliability), click Erase, and swipe the card across the device. If you want, you can delete a single track, such as Tack 2, without affecting the rest, but usually this is not necessary. Be careful, if you haven't saved the card image on your computer before, the card will be lost.

Converting Track 2 data to Track 1 - If you only have Track 2 but don't have Track 1, paste Track 2 in the appropriate line, and then double-click Track 1. Then the program will generate the correct Track 1 based on Track 2. However, you will have to register the cardholder's name yourself — Track 2 doesn't contain it.

Batch mode – if you need to record multiple magnetic cards at once, then batch mode will help. In single mode, the program will record the same information every time a new card is swiped, until the Abort button is pressed. You don't have to click the record button every time. However, if you need to record a series of cards, such as a set of discount cards or key cards, each of which contains unique information. Then the serial mode will help you.

Settings for the batch card processing file format.
Before using it, you need to create a text file with a list of information that should be recorded on the tracks of each card, also in the Settings tab, select which tracks you want to record and whether your bat file uses line break to separate cards, the file format is as follows:




Coercive force

Magnetic cards are also divided into two types according to the coercive force. In fact, this is the power of the card's magnetic field, how easy it is to erase such a card with another permanent magnet. There are cards with high and low coercivity. Cards with low coercivity have a brown track. They are cheaper to produce, but they are more susceptible to external magnetic fields. High-coercivity cards have a black track and are more durable. Credit cards almost always use magnetic tracks with high coercivity. While cards with low coercivity are used in various tickets, parking systems, when the card usage time does not exceed several days. From the point of view of card reading, coercivity does not matter. When recording, however, data in low-coercivity mode can be written to a high-coercivity card, but not vice versa. The corresponding buttons in the upper-left corner of the Actions tab are responsible for selecting the recording mode in Lo or Hi. The Check button allows you to find out which mode is currently enabled. Try changing the coercivity if the card reads normally but returns an error when writing.

License\ID tab

In addition to Actions and Settings, there is a License\ID tab that allows you to generate a magnetic stripe of driver's licenses of the states of Arizona and California. This feature is of little use to Russian users.

Bank Card Tab

Bank Card — in this tab, your card number will be displayed in a more familiar form. The program will also check the validity of the number. Together with the program, a database of American banks was also supposed to go, which would allow me to determine by number which bank the card belongs to, but I only got the executable file, finding a working The Jerm without malicious code is quite difficult.

Reconstruct Tab

The Reconstruct tab will help you restore information if you work with a damaged magnetic card, but this tab didn't do me much good.

Utility for MSR 206 with source code (Xyl2k)​

If you understand Visual Basic programming and are quite rightly wary of bookmarks in other programs, then you can write your own utility (or at least view the code before compiling) to work with MSR 206 based on the following source code provided by the French developer XylitolFRA.

Anatomy of a credit card number and magnetic track​

The first digit of the credit card number identifies the scope of the credit card company:

1, 2 – Airline credit cards.
3 – American Express, Diners Club
4 – Visa Card
5, 6 – Discover

The first 6 digits, including the first one, determine the number of the bank that issued the card, this is the so-called BIN (Bank Identification Nubmer) or IIN (Issuer Identification Number). You can use the BIN to find out which bank issued the card, for example, here: The BIN does not contain any payment information and is identical for all cards issued by the same bank.

The next 9 digits are your personal account number in the credit system. This number has nothing to do with the number of your bank account that the card is associated with.

The last 16 digit is added to verify that the card number is correct. It is generated according to the Moon algorithm. A formula developed in 1960 by Hans Peter Loon. In addition to credit cards in Russia the Luna algorithm is used in the numbers of Russian Railways trains,

If you look at how the data on the credit card tracks is arranged, you will notice that they mostly repeat the information stamped on the card itself. A natural question arises: is it possible to recreate a magnetic track from the number? No, this is prevented by CVC1 (Card Verification Code 1) — a random sequence of 3 digits, which is present only on the magnetic layer of the card. It doesn't appear anywhere in the contract documents or on the card itself.You can only recognize it by reading the magnetic stripe. CVC1 is the exact opposite of CVC2. For online purchases, CVC2 is printed on the card itself, but it doesn't appear anywhere on the magnetic tape. It is noteworthy that payment terminals work exclusively with Track 2, and Track 1 data is used by the cash register or ATM to print a check and a personalized greeting on the terminal, and cross-checking is usually not performed, so it is not difficult to change the name in Track 1 — the card will still work. Attackers use this feature by changing the name of the cardholder to match the name stamped on the fake card or fake identity card.

Manipulating your own credit card
So, why would you, a decent, law-abiding citizen, even want to copy

Backup — credit cards tend to fail, and magnetic tape is not the most reliable way to store information. Getting a new credit card involves unnecessary costs and is often time-consuming. If you have a backup copy, you can always restore the card without contacting the bank.

Magnetic stripe restoration – credit cards are susceptible to magnets, and the recording on the magnetic layer weakens with prolonged use. If you have an MSR, you can reformat the card, first remove the image, erase tracks, and then burn the card again. The card updated in this way will be read as new again.

Enhanced security — the number on the card is payment information and allows you to make purchases over the Internet. When paying, you often have to give the card to third parties (cashiers, waiters in a restaurant). If copying magnetic information still requires an appropriate device, copying or photographing 18 digits, a name, and CVC2 is only a matter of seconds. Writing information to a blank with invalid numbers increases your security. If your bank uses an EMV chip, then the created clone of the magnetic stripe will only be suitable for payment in stores and will not be suitable for withdrawing money from an ATM. Moreover, credit card details can be recorded on magnetic media that does not have any identification of the payment document at all. For example, you can write down your credit card on the blank of an unnecessary or invalid discount card. However, even if your wallet is stolen, it is extremely unlikely that an attacker will recognize the discount card as a credit card. Some difficulty lies in the fact that when making purchases with such a card, the seller may refuse to accept such a card for payment.

Sharing a single account with multiple people-cloning credit cards allows multiple people to access a single bank account, bypassing the restrictions and regulations of the bank itself. For example, this way you can make money transfers to family members and trusted persons in different countries. You can issue a copy of your own card to your wife and treat all purchases made to her as your own, which may be convenient when filing a tax return. However, you need to be careful here, since in some cases such actions are a financial fraud.

Discount cards, access cards, etc. - credit card technology is so widespread and available that it is used in many systems of discount cards and various low-security access cards such as parking lots, elevators, student tickets, and so on. The scope of application is limited only by your imagination and ingenuity.

Creating your own discount cards for small businesses – there is a lot of software available for working with discount cards at the point of sale. Using the hardware and software described in this article, it is easy to create your own discount cards or add them to an existing discount system at minimal cost.

If you copy an access card, then most likely, instead of clear text (as when working with a credit card), a seemingly meaningless jumble of characters is considered. The fact is that the standard for recording credit cards is the same all over the world, and The Jerm knows how to decrypt it. In the case of access cards, they are usually written according to the rules of a particular access system. It doesn't matter that you can't figure out exactly which number is written on the card. Just switch The Jerm to write mode, and the program will write data to the new card in the same form as it was read. This is the main vulnerability of magnetic cards, the ability to copy raw data, while the clone will still work.
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