New Exploits Turn ATM Hacking Into a Game
Hackers are getting unusually creative in their attacks…
An article review.
One drawback of limiting the scope of our annual review articles (the M-7, T-7 and R-7) to seven items is that we don’t always get to include every subject we’d like to. Luckily we had our friend Wes Pollard to point out a great article on a creative new element in a familiar subject: ATM hacking.
While computer viruses have often included creative elements beyond their destructive payload, typically ATM attacks have remained strictly utilitarian–they’re just tools used by professional criminals after all. So it was surprising when several new attacks were discovered in the wild which incorporate game-like elements, including one that effectively turned the ATM into a slot machine.
Experts have speculated the shift could indicate that the creators of the attacks have become confident enough in the basic functionality of the malware that they can focus on less important aspects. The change in attack styles could also indicate a new group of authors, outside of the more professional and secretive organizations that are typically involved in ATM theft.
Another indication that different individuals or organizations may now be involved is where researchers found these latest attacks: they were listed for sale on the dark web. In the past ATM malware wasn’t widely distributed or advertised openly, and the listing of such attacks for sale can only mean that ATM hacking is now within the reach of a much larger, less skilled group of would-be criminals…meaning this is one trend that isn’t likely to go away any time soon.
Original article by Brian Barrett, writing for Wired.