Jackpotting Attacks: A threat to ATM security


Jackpotting Attacks: A threat to ATM security

Jackpotting attacks, also known as logical attacks, are used to draw indefinite amounts of money from ATMs. The hackers involved in such attacks are well versed in interpreting the working sequence of ATMs. Recently, Belgium has faced one such attack. Argenta bank in Belgium has been targeted for a Jackpotting attack. This was the first time Belgium has ever experienced this threat.

The Bank was forced to close 143 of its ATM machines following this attack. Roeslare city and the Ingelmunster city in Belgium were targeted on two consecutive days. The machines mainly affected were manufactured by Diebold Nixdorf. Typically the attackers try to install malware physically into the ATMs. According to Brian Krebbs’ (an independent security expert) website, they use endoscopes, tube-like narrow devices fitted with cameras at their ends to look into the ATMs. Once they find a suitable place to attach a computer cable, they synchronize their system with the machine’s computer. Thus gaining access to the ATM machines. In July 2019, Dutch Bangla Bank Limited in Bangladesh was attacked by a hacker group called “Silence.” The Bank lost $3 million in this attack. In another incident from February 2019, an ATM malware named “winpot” was discovered. It even provided visual measures of the targeted ATM’s cassettes.

Jackpotting has been steadily rising ever since the starting of ATM technology. The European Association for Secure Transactions (EAST) has provided some trends of these cyberattacks: 1. In the first half of 2019, most of the jackpotting attacks in European banks failed. The hackers only managed to seize €1,000 from one attempt. 2. Most of the Jackpotting and other logical attacks were down by 43% during this period. This involved usage of costly tools and more significant time for execution. Stopping potential access ports and monitoring who has access to sensitive parts like the mainboard and cash dispenser are important precautions to avoid ATM Jackpotting.

Maintaining a database of who has access to top box keys and keeping a management module that provides maintenance personnel and other critical persons via a one-time code could be implemented. Alarm sensors may also be put into use for emergency purposes. These steps should be taken by the banks for protection against Jackpotting attacks.

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