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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thieves From Within, Ghost in the Machine

ATM Usage Safety Tips
ATM Usage Safety Tips
Ok, so you've been doing all that... and so far you haven't had any problems except, probably, for a few times when the darn machine ate up your card or went offline when you needed it most.

But now, it seems, those safety guidlines will no longer be enough to keep you safe.

I know posting about this may/could cause panic to some people but, really, my only purpose for posting this is to share the information. Quoting from the 80s G.I. Joe cartoon... "...knowing is half the battle".

I've read a news article early this morning (on Yahoo) about a malware that's infecting Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). The article wasn't specific in telling which country's ATMs have been infected. However, it did mention "Eastern Europe" and "outside of Eastern Europe". Hmmm...

What the malware does is this... when an ATM card is fed into the machine, the malware records the information stored in the card's magnetic strip... including the PIN. Then, with the use of a "master control card", the thief can either print the collected data using the ATM's receipt issuing system OR store the collected data in his/her "master control card".

Experts working on the malware said that the malware has no networking capabilities yet. However, there is the danger of it being engineered into a worm which will enable it to spread through ATM networks.

Authorities are suspecting that the malware was either done (and planted) by an industry "insider" or by someone who was able to pick the lock(s) of ATM(s). This is because the malware can only be installed on ATMs by someone who has the capability of gaining direct access to the ATMs internal hardware.

By the way, the malware samples gathered in March (2009) by SpiderLabs and Sophos are said to be designed to target machines made by Diebold.

Update: June 26, 2009 - This was reported on ABS-CBN's TV Patrol tonight.


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