Remote malware – hackers’ newest trend in ATM attacks

Trend Micro (a top cyber security software solutions company) along with Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) have recently released a whitepaper explaining how new types of ATM thefts have started to emerge. These are happening particularly because many ATM networks don’t use updated software, thus don’t receive the latest security updates, which makes them extremely vulnerable when faced with digital frauds.

Hackers initiate the attack from the ATM network

Apparently, the new scheme no longer relies on cyber criminals physically standing in front of an ATM and using skimming devices, but attacking the ATM from inside, through their network. One of the easiest ways to infiltrate the ATM network is by sending phishing e-mails to bank employees; once they introduce a malicious code into the e-mail system, they capture valuable information about the employees’ daily tasks and they can also trace vulnerabilities of the ATM network.

The next and final step is to install malware on the ATM server. Mainly, the hackers use a code that generates a secret-key for each session. When a bank customer uses the same key, the code allows the hacker to empty the ATM.

The attackers establish which ATMs they should infect depending on geographical location, public visibility and other criteria. This way, their partners know exactly which ATM they should collect the cash from and simply wait to pick up the money.

This type of ATM heist is definitely more complex, but financially, it proves to be more profitable because one simple attack can infect more ATM machines.

Apart from the attack itself, which of course affects the bank and the bank users as well, there are two downsides to the ATM infection:

  • the customer won’t realize this is happening because the ATM either works normally or looks like it is out of service
  • it’s hard to find the real hackers because they often resell the malware they use for this fraud

How can you protect yourself from ATM scams?

Generally, you should take a closer look at your ATM and its surroundings before you cash in your money and if anything looks suspicious, just try using a different ATM.

#Hackers found a new method to attack #ATMs through their network. Tips how you can protect from ATM hacks Click to Tweet

3 easy ways to figure out if an ATM has a skimming device:

  1. Joggle the card reader and see if it doesn’t move around; if it does, that means a skimmer was placed over the card reader.
  2. Pay attention to the details of the machine: does it look like the bottom panel is a different color from the rest of the machine? That usually means that a fake piece of plastic was placed over the real bottom panel.
  3. Inspect the keypad: if it seems thicker of different than usual, an overlay was set over the real keypad, so the fingerprints of your PIN code would be easily visible.

Use a VPN when online banking

Nowadays, more people use internet banking and one easy ways to add an extra layer of security to your financial and payment accounts is by using a VPN. Online banking websites have their own protective security measures, but they may not work all the time.

With CyberGhost VPN, you can encrypt your online data, and you can also hide your entire web activity. CyberGhost uses a strong encryption algorithm that makes it impossible for anyone to access your surfing history. Using a VPN is particularly useful when you handle online transactions while you are connected to a public unknown Wi-Fi network.

Download CyberGhost now and protect your financial information!

About the author

Dana Vioreanu
Dana Vioreanu

Even though her degree is in Sociology, which technically has nothing to do with writing, all her previous jobs implied working for websites, taking care of content and writing articles.
By the way, if you’re interested in studying abroad, feel free to ask her a few pointers, because for about two years and a half, she learned almost everything there is to know about international studies.

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