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How To Crack An Atm Machine WORK

On May 16, 2009, a company representative from ATM maker Diebold was servicing an ATM at a Bank of America branch in Sun Valley, Calif., when he discovered a skimming device and a camera that were attached to the machine. The technician took pictures of the camera and card skimmer (click picture at right for larger image), and then went into the branch to contact his supervisor.

how to crack an atm machine


If you visit a cash machine that looks strange, tampered with, or out of place, then try to find another ATM. And remember, the most important security advice is to watch out for your own physical safety while using an ATM: Use only machines in public, well-lit areas, and avoid ATMs in secluded spots. Also, cover the PIN pad with your hand when entering your PIN: That way, if even if the thieves somehow skim your card, there is less chance that they will be able to snag your PIN as well.

Another type of attack on cash machines is through phishing emails sent to network administrators at the financial institution that owns the machine. The emails attempt to install malware that can later use administrative software providing remote access to ATMs to install malware on terminals that cybercriminals use to jackpot them, according to Diebold.

An ATM (automated teller machine) is a machine that enables the customers to perform banking transaction without going to the bank. Using an ATM, a user can withdraw or deposit the cash, access the bank deposit or credit account, pay the bills, change the pin, update the personal information, etc. Since the ATM machine deals with cash, it has become a high priority target for hackers and robbers. From past many years, Hackers have found multiple ways to hack into the ATM machines. Hackers are not limiting themselves to physical attacks such as cash/card trapping, skimming, etc. they are exploring new ways to hack ATM software. In this article, we will see how does an ATM works, security solutions used to secure the ATMs, different types of penetration testing to analyze ATM security and some of the security best practices which can be used to avoid ATM hack.

As the number of ATM units increase, the machine is prone to hack attacks, robberies, fraud, etc. Most of ATMs are still using Windows XP which make these ATM an easy target for the hackers. Electronic fund transfer has three components which are communication link, computer, and terminal (ATM). All three of the components must be secured to avoid the attack. We will look into the type of assessment we can perform to analyze the overall security of an ATM.

Vista ATM communicates with the XFS layer which gives commands to the hardware like cash dispenser of the ATM to dispense the cash. Any unauthorized modification in XFS files will trigger the Vista ATM application to restart the machine forcefully. The machine restarts 4-5 times, and after that, it goes into maintenance mode which does not allow the user to perform any transaction.

The two systems he hacked on stage were made by Triton and Tranax. The Tranax hack was conducted using an authentication bypass vulnerability that Jack found in the system's remote monitoring feature, which can be accessed over the Internet or dial-up, depending on how the owner configured the machine.

To conduct the remote hack, an attacker would need to know an ATM's Internet IP address or phone number. Jack said he believes about 95 percent of retail ATMs are on dial-up; a hacker could war dial for ATMs connected to telephone modems, and identify them by the cash machine's proprietary protocol.

To demonstrate, Jack punched the keys on the typed to call up the menu, then instructed the machine to spit out 50 bills from one of four cassettes. The screen lit up with the word "Jackpot!" as the bills came flying out the front.

Similar malware attacks were discovered on bank ATMs in Eastern Europe last year. Security researchers at Trustwave, based in Chicago, found the malware on 20 machines in Russia and Ukraine that were all running Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. They said they found signs that hackers were planning on bringing their attacks to machines in the US The malware was designed to attack ATMs made by Diebold and NCR.

Tillmann Werner, a researcher for CrowdStrike, says the organized crime group cracked open the ATM machines and plugged in the USB stick containing a DLL exploit payload. The payload reconfigured the ATM system such that the attackers control it and allowed money mules to steal all of the cash stored in those machines. There has been a single arrest so far -- a money mule -- and the attacks may possibly have incurred millions of dollars in losses. These attacks are expected against other banks as well, he says."They crack the ATM open and plug in the USB drive. It's risky, but nevertheless, it works," Werner says.Werner declined to name the victim bank or the brand of ATM machines it runs. The attacks still appear to be under way, he says. "The fact that such a sophisticated group is operating right now is the most important fact. Another thing that's interesting is banks in Germany potentially have the same issue, although we haven't seen an attack like that in Germany so far," Werner says.The attackers physically took apart the ATM machines and inserted a USB stick with a malicious DLL installer into the printer port, giving them control of the ATM's Windows XP-based operating system. When a network connection is interrupted to the ATM, it automatically reboots, doing so from the malicious USB. The installer program collects information from the ATM system and also contains a log file for the attackers."It's a DLL injection file attack into the running process [of the ATM], and then you have code running in that process, and they can do what they want," Werner says.One member of the gang in the heist was caught when he went to one of the ATMs to cash out. The cash-out works like this: An attacker types in a 12-digit code that then displays the malicious menu on the ATM screen. He answers a challenge question, and then calls one of his accomplices for a response code, which he inputs to dispense the cash from the ATM. The entire transaction of emptying the ATM takes a few short minutes.Unlike the ATM Ploutus malware that was discovered last year that targeted bank customers during their ATM transactions, this attack goes after the bank's cash in the ATMs. "It's not related to Ploutus," he says, which is "child's play" compared with this new, more advanced method that steals from the bank itself."Attacks against ATMs mostly have been skimming attacks," he says. "With this attack, you can empty a whole ATM and make a lot of money ... It definitely takes a mafia-like organization to pull off such an attack."The victim bank discovered the heist when its ATMs prematurely went empty of cash. "It doesn't leave any [other] traces," Werner says. The only clue is that the balance in the machine declines -- the theft transaction isn't detected.There are ways to prevent such an attack, but with ATMs not built with software security in mind, it's tough to defend against it today. "You have to secure the PC, but that's easier said than done," Werner says. The best bet is to add a boot password to the system, which would prevent this attack, or to encrypt the ATM's hard drive.The attack could work on banks in the U.S. as well, he says. The attackers have different versions of the malware for different banks, he says. "It has nothing to do with the banking system. They're going after the machine that spits out the money," he says. "Maybe they're not attacking U.S. ATMs because they use less cash in their ATMs."Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

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