All ATMs can be hijacked with malware, Kaspersky says

The company revealed the machines' outdated communication standard leaves them open to attack

binary on a screen with words 'hacking attack'

ATMs can be easily hacked and malware installed, meaning funds could be stolen, a report by Kaspersky Labs has revealed.

The company identified two key hardware flaws with the ATMs it researched - the fact that the computer inside the machine can be easily accessed and once hackers manage to reach the PC, they are running outdated systems, so can be easily infected.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"The results of our research show that even though vendors are now trying to develop ATMs with strong security features, many banks are still using old insecure models," Olga Kochetova, security expert at Kaspersky Lab's Penetration Testing department said.

"This makes them unprepared for criminals actively challenging the security of these devices. This is today's reality that causes banks and their customers huge financial losses."

Many ATMs studied by Kaspersky were running Windows XP, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. This means their security isn't up to date and malicious malware can be installed without too much effort.

Additionally, in the majority of cases, Kaspersky explained, the ATMs use software based on the XFS standard for communication between banking infrastructure and hardware units to process cash and credit cards. This is an old standard that doesn't require authorisation for the commands it sends, so any malware used to track transactions can obtain information including PIN numbers or it can give away all the money in the ATM.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

However, malware doesn't need to be used in order to hack cash machines. Criminals can also install a programmed microcomputer inside the ATM, which could connect it to a rogue processing centre. This means a hacker could give their own commands to the ATM, which it will then obey.

"From our perspective, this is the result of a longtime misbelief that cybercriminals are only interested in cyber-attacks against Internet banking," Kochetova added. "They are interested in these attacks, but also increasingly see the value in exploiting ATM vulnerabilities because a direct attack against such devices significantly shortens their route to real money,"

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/vulnerability/355236/hp-support-assistant-flaws-leave-windows-devices-open-to-attack
vulnerability

HP Support Assistant flaws leave Windows devices open to attack

6 Apr 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/355234/safari-bug-let-hackers-access-cameras-on-iphones-and-macs
cyber security

Safari bug let hackers access cameras on iPhones and Macs

6 Apr 2020
Visit/software/video-conferencing/355229/zoom-we-moved-too-fast
video conferencing

Zoom CEO admits company "moved too fast" as privacy issues mount

6 Apr 2020
Visit/security/internet-security/355228/mozilla-fixes-two-firefox-zero-days-being-actively-exploited
internet security

Mozilla fixes two Firefox zero-days being actively exploited

6 Apr 2020

Most Popular

Visit/mobile/mobile-phones/355239/microsofts-patent-design-reveals-a-mobile-device-with-a-third-screen
Mobile Phones

Microsoft patents a mobile device with a third screen

6 Apr 2020
Visit/development/application-programming-interface-api/355192/apple-buys-dark-sky-weather-app-and-leaves
application programming interface (API)

Apple buys Dark Sky weather app and leaves Android users in the cold

1 Apr 2020
Visit/software/video-conferencing/355229/zoom-we-moved-too-fast
video conferencing

Zoom CEO admits company "moved too fast" as privacy issues mount

6 Apr 2020