ATM Malware

Feel safe using an ATM machine? Think again. Back in 2009, a research group in Europe discovered a new malware that is able to compromise ATM machines.

An ATM malware sample was obtained from a financial institution in Eastern Europe where researchers learned that it ran on ATMs using Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. One of the analysts stated “Those who wrote the malware have detailed knowledge about how ATMs work.” Also, in order to install the malware, a person would need access to the inside of an ATM. This means that insiders could be involved or ATMs would have to be broken into.

The malware works by recording the information from magnetic stripes as well as the PIN numbers. To obtain the recorded information from the ATM, a person could print out the data on the ATM’s receipt roll after inserting a special master card. Or, the data could be recorded on the special master card itself. The malware currently didn’t have any networking capabilities, but eventually it could evolve and have the capability of spreading.

Finding out if an ATM has been compromised, I think might be very difficult. Maybe you could look for possible signs of the ATM being broken into or suspect anything to be wrong or unusual with the user interface. Also, a security vendor found that the malware had been customized to target machines made by Diebold, so that could be another thing to watch out for.