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ATM, vulnerable to hackers

by: Mon Peter I. Damiles | 02 Aug, 2010 14:37:06

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ATM stands for automated teller machine which is a computerized device that is used by bank clients to access their accounts. ATM’s were made to make transaction easier without the help of a bank teller. This allows customers to make cash withdrawals and to check their account balances.  To access the machine, you must use the smart card or chip that contains unique numbers and security information. As a security measure, customers are required to enter their own personal identification number (PIN).

ATM’s is one of the targets of thieves because of the amount of money that an ATM has. There have been numerous instances where ATM’s where robbed. Some thieves are using a small camera to record the pin of the card holder. Other thieves are using a device to prevent money from coming out and then after the customer finished the transaction, the thief will come back to the ATM and will get the money absorbed by the device he used. There are also instances that ATM’s are planted with bombs for thieves to open the machine to get the money. Another one is that thieves are using a car and a chain to an ATM. They will attach the ATM to their car for them to be able to rob the whole machine. These are the common ways of thieves to rob an ATM machines but are you aware that an ATM can now be hacked?

A security researcher named Barnaby Jack demonstrated ways on how to hack automated teller machines (ATM) that can spill out money. He shared it at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

The said researcher emphasized that ATM machines can be hacked both remotely and physically. Barnaby Jack demonstrated that even hackers can connect trough a telephone modem without knowing a password that can instantly produce entire supply of cash. He said that he found vulnerabilities that allow hackers to get into the machine. He also said that he has not yet evaluated machines used by banks and credit unions.

Hacking the ATM is not easy but the most difficult part was the evaluation of software for vulnerabilities. The softwares that Jack created namely Dilligner and Scrooge is easy to use and can be operated by a child.

This article’s purpose is to inform the public about the new technique in stealing money from an ATM. For additional security, ATM card holders must always follow these tips.

- Cover your fingertips while entering your PIN.

- Always check the machine first for suspicious devices.

- Check the surrounding for hidden cameras that records PINS.

- Always monitor your account, immediately report unknown withdrawals.

- For lost cards, report in to the bank immediately.

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