Hackers Hit “Jackpots” at U.S. ATMs

Hackers Now Emptying U.S. ATMs

Hackers targeting ATMs isn’t breaking news.  Historically, these attacks have been seen throughout Asia and Europe.  However, according to Krebs on Security, these attacks are now spreading throughout the U.S.  Earlier this month, the U.S. Secret Service quietly began warning financial institutions that “jackpotting” attacks have now been spotted targeting ATMs in the U.S.

In order for the attacks to be successful, the hackers have to have physical access to the ATM.  Upon gaining access, they install malicious software, often by using specialized electronics, to gain access to the functionality of the ATM.  Upon gaining access, they have the ability to withdrawal large amounts of money — earning the “jackpotting” name.  Once the control is taken over by the hackers, the ATM will appear “Out of Service” to others.

Brian Krebs states,

“The source said the Secret Service is warning that thieves appear to be targeting Opteva 500 and 700 series Dielbold ATMs using the Ploutus.D malware in a series of coordinated attacks over the past 10 days, and that there is evidence that further attacks are being planned across the country.”

Once the attack is initiated, the ATM will dispense approximately 40 bills every 23 seconds, until the ATM is empty.  The only way to stop the attack, once initiated, is by pressing “Cancel” on the ATM.

Since the cash withdrawal is not coming from a specific account, the individual account holders should not be impacted.  However, the cash has to come from somewhere right?  It is uncertain how banking institutions will handle these situations should they fall victim — cyber security insurance perhaps?

It is important banks understand the risk they are now facing, and take proper precautions to avoid being targeted.

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15 thoughts on “Hackers Hit “Jackpots” at U.S. ATMs

  1. Hey the banks losing this money is basically the same way we lose money to them via their high interest rates and ridiculous fees. I guess in a way these thieves are making us equal =-)

    • I’m not getting tv any money back this way, are you? But, guess who’s pockets the banks will get the money from to cover their losses!

  2. It appears that they need a security system where the software could only be altered by having special adapters on the ATM that would require one software key from a bank officer and one from a service tech. There should be far more secure platforms than Windows XP. Using outdated security is asking for trouble.

  3. Banks and ATM owners/operators may need a form of cyber insurance, or what is probably a better solution is to eliminate the access thieves have and provide security for these types of “jackpotting” of “hyjacks” of ATMs. I am glad I do not use ATMs and since I have been able to do without them for these past many decades, I don’t see the need will arise in the future.

    • @Arnold: why would the bank want to empty the atm. That is their money until it is subtracted from an account. If it is emptying the atm without account info they are out of the money not you.

      • It could be a ploy? Loose a lot of money, and they can raise all there “already high charges”….such as over-draft charges.
        I think the days of the “honest bank” are gone.
        One year I had to pay over $2,000.00 in bank charges.

  4. My debit card was hacked at an AM/PM gas station. There is some kind of device hackers can attach to the ATM at the pump, and get all your banking information. The only way we found out about it real soon, was because they bought 2 tickets to a sports event in Oakland, Ca. Ticketmaster, called us to verify the purchase…..& reversed the charges, and we reported it to the bank. We had to get a new Debit card.
    I was told by a PC wiz, that you can try to jiggle the place where you stick the debit card at the pump, and if it moves around do not use that pump…… Can you confirm any other ways of preventing this? We felt very abused.
    I have PC Matic, and really love it! Keep up the good work! Like the new commercials as well!

    • That’s a great practice to keep Roy! Unfortunately there aren’t to many other things you can do besides manually check for a skimmer. Try to also keep an eye on your credit card transactions so you can dispute them if fraud happens.

    • @Roy R: actually your so called PC wiz told you wrong. The top portion of the scanner is actually the scammer stealing your info. Shake all you want or can until your card is more than halfway into the machine. Go left to right with the card shaking this makes it difficult to grab your info . Another thing to do is before inserting your card try to pull up on the card entrance metal. If it is flat you are probably fine if it is raised, try to pull the raised portion off.

      Just so everyone knows many scammers sit in the parking lot with a laptop connected to the hacked ATM by wireless. This is how they grab your info and store it. But I hear that the last few years their may be a flash drive or SD memory attached if the scammer is very much into the knowledge or is a PC wiz they no longer need the laptop.

      I am still waiting for the day for bankers to place a full color portrait of their top portion of their ATM right in plain sight so that anyone that comes up to the machine knows exactly what the machine should look like. If the picture or the ATM itself is different then don’t insert your card. The portrait should state that if the portrait has been tampered with or ATM is different from portrait then don’t use the ATM.

    • @Roy R:
      I never use pay at the pump for several reasons and this would be one.
      I always pay inside when I am done filling or prepay this way it is done in person it may not completely stop this from happening as it did you. The second main reason is if you pay at the pump most gas stations wont tell you but they put up to 3 times the amount of purchase on hold on your account, If you travel as much as I do from coast to coast this will also can hinder your card unexpectedly, for example you may have 500-600 dollars or more on hold above and beyond what you spent. Hotels do this also your debit and credit cards will let you know and could leaving you stranded

  5. I recently tied my Vanguard GNMA account to my

    Banks Debit Atm and now have a

    $3,000 shortage in my Vanguard account.

    What is my recourse?

    F D Conzo

    • This particular malware, doesn’t impact individual accounts. It essentially takes control of the ATM and just sends coding for it to dispense cash until the machine is empty. If you’re seeing a shortage in your account, you’ll need to contact Vanguard.

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