Published: Tue, January 30, 2018
IT | By Lester Massey

Secret Service warns financial companies of ATM cyberattacks

Secret Service warns financial companies of ATM cyberattacks

They use a key to gain access to stand alone ATM's and install malware on their computers.

"It runs until it is empty or the person standing at the ATM alerts the controller of the ATM to stop the withdrawal sequence because either law enforcement is nearby or for whatever reason, they get spooked and want to leave the scene", O'Neill told ABC News.

Most of the affected ATMs are standalone machines located in pharmacies, big box retailers or drive-through kiosks rather than inside banks.

The Secret Service has warned financial institutions about the attack, which forces ATMs to dispense large quantities of cash.

Fraudsters pose as ATM technicians, even wearing uniforms and access the teller machine. So-called "money mules" are then dispatched to banks to collect the illegal dough, according to The Verge.

The Secret Service says authorities have recently obtained credible information about planned jackpotting attacks in the USA and have alerted law enforcement and financial institutions.

The ATM appears to be out of service to regular customers during the entire operation.

The attacks were reported earlier on Saturday by the security news website Krebs on Security, which said they had begun a year ago in Mexico. The compromised ATMs can dispense up to 40 bills every 23 seconds which can amount to tens of thousands of dollars from a single ATM.

Last year, security firm FireEye called Ploutus.D "one of the most advanced ATM malware families we've seen in the last few years".

O'Neill says it's transnational organized crime using a mixture of global criminals and people who are already in the United States. The agency said it had discovered the hack through its Electronic Crimes Task Force for cybercriminals. Similar attacks were also reported that year in Thailand and Taiwan. An alert was sent out Friday to inform the banking community of the potential attack and how they might protect themselves from being victimized.

Thieves have identified vulnerabilities in financial institutions that operate ATMs, according to the Secret Service.

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