Report: ATMs Spitting Out Cash for Hackers

Hackers can now make ATMs give them cash like it were coming out of a slot machine and they have started to operate in the U.S. This has marked the arrival of the attacks dubbed “jackpotting” that were widespread in both Asia and Europe, says Krebs on Security the security website.

Thieves use skimming devices at ATM machines to record information from debit cards, but jackpotting is a sign that in the near-future there will be more technology challenges that are more sophisticated that U.S. banks will be facing.

The digital security firm Krebs said in its post that this was the first jackpotting instance in the U.S. and it is safe to say they are here to stay for now.

On its website, Krebs posted over the weekend that the Secret Service warned U.S. financial institutes about the attacks of jackpotting over the last few days, though no specifics were revealed.

Krebs said that criminal gangs have targeted Deibold Nixdorf machines which are standalone types that are often seen in pharmacies or a drive-through. A security notice described attacks of a similar nature in Mexico, where criminals used a medical endoscope that was modified to access a port in the machines to install malware.

A spokesperson for Diebold Nixdorf would not comment on the number of banks that had been targeted throughout Mexico and the U.S. or on the amount of losses.

Hackers have been reportedly infected ATMs remotely or completely swapping out hard drives. The U.S. Secret Services did not comment in relation to those claims when asked.

An example was used at a 2012 hackers’ conference where a card was swiped at an ATM and a researcher was able to instantly bring up the number of the credit card and personal data on a spreadsheet of a computer.

When the researcher gave the computer a command, the world jackpot flashed across the screen of the ATM and it started to spit out bills.

Small-scale attacks of jackpotting had been reported on a sporadic basis in several countries between 2012 and 2015, but increased significantly starting in 2016 across Europe.

A gang took over $13 million from ATMs in Japan during a period of three hours in 2016. During the summer of that year, loose cash could be seen fluttering around ATMs at First Commercial bank in Taipei, Taiwan.

Withdrawals were subsequently frozen at over 1,000 ATMs at that time, a police investigation that followed revealed that masked thieves were waiting in front of machines that were hacked and carried away bags full of cash that equaled over $2 million in all.