November 15, 2016

Fake-processing ATM attack


We have already written about several methods of attacking ATMs. They have one prerequisite in common: Unauthorized persons must access the machines’ hardware by means of a service key, which they obtain by various means. However, sometimes ATM operators themselves simplify the breach by leaving the banking machine’s network equipment physically accessible. This example is not unique, unfortunately.

Having access to the router, criminals can simply bring their own portable processing center (a minicomputer with specialized software installed), connect it to the ATM, insert any card, approve the transaction, and withdraw any amount of cash. It looks something like this:



Unfortunately, that kind of vulnerability is more common than you might think, although the heart of the problem remains the inadequate security in the bank systems, which fail to recognize the counterfeit processing center substitutes. And attackers don’t even need access to the cable  —they can open an ATM and connect their fake processing center using their own wiring. However, that’s no excuse for leaving network equipment out in the open.

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