ATM Hacking Discovered Via USB Flash Drive

ATM hacking is a new trend in cheating the system for cash, but it may not be happening the way you expect. Germany’s Chaos Computing Congress has reported that criminals in Europe have been using infected USB flash drives to bypass security features used by a certain unnamed bank.

The truth is that there is no such thing as absolute security. If a man can make it, a man can break it, and the more moving parts (or in this case, code) there are involved, the more there is to be exploited. Cars made back in the 1950s or earlier were much easier to fix because they were built much more simply. Cars made now are so technically complex that it sometimes takes a trained mechanic to pinpoint what’s wrong.

The same fact can be applied to computer systems and ATM machines. The more complicated it is, the more can go wrong with it. You might think that would make it harder to pull off ATM hacking, but when there is more code, there is more to exploit.

This kind of theft even happened back in the 1990s, as portrayed by Edward Furlong in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. He played the role of John Connor as a child, and with his buddy in tow he hacked an ATM to steal $300 from a stolen credit card.

Now criminals in Europe are doing the same thing, only they aren’t using credit cards. They are physically cutting holes in ATM machines to allow a USB flash drive to be plugged in. The flash drive itself is infected with code which overrides security for a certain bank so they don’t even need an account number. All they need is a 12-digit code number that instantly launches the flash drive malware, and they can withdraw whatever they want in any selected denomination.

The only limit is the amount of cash actually in the machine. These thieves cover their tracks by patching up the hole they cut in the machine, which also marks it for other thieves to do the same thing, but the code number they use is controlled by someone else.

This new trend in ATM hacking is enough to make you wonder if criminals in the US have started doing the same thing and haven’t been caught yet. You can be sure that the NSA is probably very aware of it. After all, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, they are already allegedly installing spyware on laptops ordered online by suspected criminals. Nobody publicly knows just how far they have already gone.

The only real bright side to this is that it’s not individual accounts being hacked. These ATM hackers are targeting the machines themselves and the cash they hold.