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Malware infected ATMs in China via specialized device

Authorities in Macau (China) reported the arrest of two Ukrainian men charged with stealing approximately 100000$ from at least 7 ATMs, says Brian Krebs in his blog. Police said the men inserted a specialized device connected to the laptop into the card reader slot on the ATM and installed skimming software that way.

Trojans for ATMs that steal card data and PINs are sometimes used by cybercriminals instead of usual lower tech skimmers for years already. Until now, the main hindrance to hackers was the difficulty in accessing the ATM software because of protective casing. A specialized device capable of accessing ATM software without any need for breaking in physically can change the situation completely. All other ATM infection incidents in the past included the cybercriminals getting to USB or CD-ROM to put malware into. Another thing that should be noted is that new versions of ATM Trojans can disable the traditional information protection solutions installed on the self-serving device.

However, reported incident leaves too many questions about it. Stanislav Shevchenko, CTO of SafenSoft, company that develops information security solutions for ATMs, says the following. In order to infect the ATM software, you need to have an access to computer. This device cannot allow it. Interacting with card reader doesnít let the criminal intrude the computer itself and the report doesnít mention opening up any parts of ATM. Device itself looks strange compared to its function as it was described. No other incidents with usage of it are reported so far. All this makes us think that this information should be approached with caution because itís either missing key parts of isnít credible at all.


June 19, 2014

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