Cybercriminals are targeting ATM machines in the US forcing them to spit out hundreds of dollars with ‘jackpotting‘ attacks.
According to a senior US Secret Service official, the organization has managed to steal more than $1m from ATM machines using this technique.
Once crooks gain physical access to the ATM, they will infect it with a malware or specialized electronics that is designed to instruct the machine to deliver money in response to specific commands.
The jackpotting technique was first proposed by white hat hacker Barnaby Jack in 2010.
The popular investigator Brian Krebs obtained an alert issued by ATM maker manufacturers Diebold Nixdorf this month, the company warns of an ongoing campaign conducted by a gang in the US.
“On Jan. 21, 2018, KrebsOnSecurity began hearing rumblings about jackpotting attacks, also known as “logical attacks,” hitting U.S. ATM operators. I quickly reached out to ATM giant NCR Corp. to see if they’d heard anything. NCR said at the time it had received unconfirmed reports, but nothing solid yet.” wrote Krebs.
“On Jan. 26, NCR sent an advisory to its customers saying it had received reports from the Secret Service and other sources about jackpotting attacks against ATMs in the United States.”
“While at present these appear focused on non-NCR ATMs, logical attacks are an industry-wide issue,” the NCR alert reads. “This represents the first confirmed cases of losses due to logical attacks in the US. This should be treated as a call to action to take appropriate steps to protect their ATMs against these forms of attack and mitigate any consequences.”
The crooks are infecting the ATM with the Ploutus-D malware, the vendor warns that Opteva 500 and 700 series machines are particularly vulnerable to these attacks.
These attacks are the first confirmed cases of jackpotting attacks against ATMs in the US. Jackpotting attacks were already reported in Europe, in May 27 people have been arrested by the Europol for jackpotting attacks on ATM across many countries in Europe.
Ploutus is one of the sophisticated ATM malware that was first discovered in Mexico back in 2013. The malicious code allows crooks to steal cash from ATMs using either an external keyboard attached to the machine or by sending it SMS messages.
In January, experts at FireEye Labs have discovered a new version of the Ploutus ATM malware, the so-called Ploutus-D, that works the KAL’s Kalignite multivendor ATM platform.
The experts observed the Ploutus-D in attacks against ATM of the vendor Diebold, but the most worrisome aspect of the story is that minor changes to the malware code could allow Ploutus-D to target a wide range of ATM vendors in 80 countries.
The alert issued by Secret Service explains that the cybercriminals use an endoscope to inspect the internal parts of the ATM searching for the place where they can attach a cord that allows them to sync their laptop with the ATM’s computer.
Diebold Nixdorf urges the improvement of physical security for ATMs, especially for those located in public places such as malls and pharmacies. Also, tightening the security configuration of the firmware is recommended.
The alert issued by Secret service recommends to limit physical access to the ATM machines and implement protection mechanisms for cash modules (i.e. Use firmware with latest security functionality. use the most secure configuration of encrypted communications incl. physical authentication).
(Security Affairs – Jackpotting, banking)
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