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ATM Malware

Lately, there was information released in several Internet resources about a new malware used in Eastern Europe to steal money from ATMs. It looks at all the data being processed by the ATM and records account information that is stored on the magnetic stripes on cards inserted into the machine and encrypted PIN blocks that are generated when someone types in their personal identification number. Although the PINs are encrypted, criminals could potentially intercept the encryption keys exchanged with the bank and use them to decrypt the PINs. Theoretically, once the malware has been hidden on the ATM for a period of time, the criminal can return to the machine and use a special "trigger" card to control the ATM and print out the stolen data directly from the machine or instruct the ATMS to dispense all the cash it has.

There have been about 20 cases when ATMs were compromised in that manner, mostly in Russia and Ukraine, but there also are "early indications" of compromised ATMs in the U.S. It is believed that someone has to manually install the malware on the machines, so it's likely that an insider is responsible; it can be either an employee at the bank, the ATM vendor, a company that services the machines or someone close to an insider. This is not the first time malware has been discovered on ATMs. But many experts agree that this is probably the most sophisticated malware found on an ATM.

The general recommendations are not to use any ATM that looks suspicious, for example, if the screen has a different interface or strange commands. It’s also recommended to use ATMs within reputable businesses and banks. For more information about using ATMs and dealing with money issues in Ukraine, please click here. If you have any other questions or requests regarding travelling to Ukraine, do not hesitate contacting us.


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