As we reported earlier, Microsoft will stop supporting the Windows XP operating system after 8th April, apparently 95% of the world’s 3 million ATM machines are run on it. Microsoft’s decision towithdraw support for Windows XP poses critical security threat to the economic infrastructure worldwide.
“Since the phone is connected to the ATM through the USB port, the phone also draws power from the connection, which charges the phone battery. As a result, the phone will remain powered up indefinitely.”
- Connect a mobile phone to the machine with a USB cable and install Ploutus Malware.
- The attacker sends two SMS messages to the mobile phone inside the ATM.
- SMS 1 contains a valid activation ID to activate the malware
- SMS 2 contains a valid dispense command to get the money out
- Mobile attached inside the ATM detects valid incoming SMS messages and forwards them to the ATM as a TCP or UDP packet.
- Network packet monitor (NPM) module coded in the malware receives the TCP/UDP packet and if it contains a valid command, it will execute Ploutus
- Amount for Cash withdrawal is pre-configured inside the malware
- Finally, the hacker can collect cash from the hacked ATM machine.
In an era where major data hacks are on the rise, it is no surprise breaches on individuals are also up.
In just three hours, over 100 criminals managed to steal ¥1.4 Billion (approx. US$12.7 Million) from around 1,400 ATMs placed in small convenience stores across Japan.
The heist took place on May 15, between 5:00 am and 8:00 am, and looked like a coordinated attack by an international crime network.
Many ATM incidents involve a long-established technique called ‘ATM Skimming‘ in which criminals install devices to obtain card details via its magnetic stripe, or use ATM malware or from data breaches, and then work with so-called carders and money mules to pilfer cash at ATMs or make online purchases.
In this particular case as well, the heist was carried out using cloned credit cards that contained bank account details obtained from Standard Bank in South Africa.
The criminal gang of around 100 people believed to have withdrawn 100,000 yen (nearly US$900) – the maximum amount allowed by cash machines – from each of the 14,000 ATMs.
This incident shows a sophisticated move by a group of criminals who stole the critical card data, but rather than using it immediately, it kept the data safe and used effectively when least suspected.
So, be cautious when you use any ATM and always look carefully at the teller machine before using it. If you found the machine tampered or its card slot looks damaged or scratched, DO NOT use the ATM.