Research conducted by Kaspersky Lab, noted that almost all ATMS are running older versions of operating systems and have a lack of physical security
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ATMs may be susceptible to being illegally accessed or jackpotted with or without the use of malware. According to research conducted by Kaspersky Lab, almost all ATMs are PCs running older versions of operating systems such as Windows XP, which makes them vulnerable to infection with malware, or attacks with exploits. In addition, researchers also noted that a lack of physical security was also a problem. The report noted that open ATMs are constructed and installed in a manner that will allow easy access to third-parties.
Read the complete press release below
For many years the biggest threat to the customers and owners of ATMs were skimmers – special devices attached to an ATM in order to steal data from bank card magstripes. But as malicious techniques have evolved, ATMs have been exposed to more danger. In 2014, Kaspersky Lab researchers discovered Tyupkin – one of the first widely known examples of malware for ATMs, and in 2015 company experts uncovered the Carbanak gang, which, among other things was capable of jackpotting ATMs through compromise banking infrastructure. Both examples of attack were possible due to the exploitation of several common weaknesses in ATM technology, and in the infrastructure that supports them. This is only the tip of the iceberg.
In an effort to map all ATM security issues, Kaspersky Lab penetration testing specialists have conducted research based on the investigation of real attacks, and on the results of ATM security assessments for several international banks.
As a result of the research, the experts have demonstrated that malware attacks against ATMs are possible due to two main security issues:
In many cases observed by Kaspersky Lab researchers, criminals don’t have to use malware to infect the ATM or the network of the bank it’s attached to. That is possible because of the lack of physical security for the ATMs themselves - a very common issue for these devices. Very often ATMs are constructed and installed in a way that means a third-party can easily gain access to the PC inside the ATM, or to the network cable connecting the machine to the Internet. By gaining even partial physical access to the ATM, criminals potentially can:
A fake processing center is software that processes payment data and is identical to the bank’s software despite the fact that it doesn’t belong to the bank. Once the ATM is reconnected to a fake processing center, attackers can issue any command they want. And the ATM will obey.
The connection between ATMs and the processing center can be protected in various ways. For example, using a hardware or software VPN, SSL/TLS encryption, a firewall or MAC-authentication, implemented in xDC protocols. However, these measures are not often implemented. When they are, they are often misconfigured and even vulnerable, something that might only be discovered during an ATM security assessment. As a result, criminals don’t have to manipulate the hardware, they just exploit insecurities in the network communication between the ATM and the banking infrastructure.
How to stop ATM jackpotting
“The results of our research show that even though vendors are now trying to develop ATMs with strong security features, many banks are still using old insecure models and this makes them unprepared for criminals actively challenging the security of these devices. This is today’s reality that causes banks and their customers huge financial losses. From our perspective this is the result of a longtime misbelief, that cybercriminals are only interested in cyberattacks against Internet banking. They are interested in these attacks, but also increasingly see the value in exploiting ATM vulnerabilities, because direct attacks against such devices significantly shortens their route to real money,” - said Olga Kochetova, security expert at Kaspersky Lab’s Penetration Testing department.
Although the security issues listed above most probably affect a lot of ATMs around the world, it doesn’t mean that the situation cannot be fixed. ATM manufacturers can reduce the risk of attack on cash machines by applying the following measures:
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