Jackpotting ATMs: Hack Attacks Hit US for First Time

Cyberattackers target US ATM machines

"Jackpotting" attacks that cause ATMs to spit out their cash inventory have come to the United States, according to a Secret Service alert sent to financial institutions.

The Secret Service says they typically work in teams with one person gaining access to the machine's hardware and hijacking the computer system, the other returning a short time later to withdraw thousands of dollars.

Over the past few years, jackpotting has been a rising threat across the globe, particularly in Europe and Asia. Hackers would be able to go to the machines themselves and using remotely controlled means, force the ATMs to dispense cash.

ATM maker Diebold Nixdorf Inc warned banks that hackers may be targeting USA cash machines with tools that force them to spit out cash, the latest development to highlight the increasing threat hackers pose to financial firms.

Diebold Nixdorf and NCR sent out an alert to their customers over the weekend, but did not identify victims or specify how much money had been stolen. Jackpotting attacks were first noted by Krebs on Security, an investigative news blog about security issues.

Last week, ATM manufacturers Diebold Nixdorf and NCR sent out advisories to their clients about the attacks, according to security reporter Brian Krebs.

NCR said that its machines are not targeted in the recent attacks, but it is a concern for the entire ATM industry. "This represents the first confirmed cases of losses due to logical attacks in the US".

A Secret Service alert obtained by Krebs on Security described the modus operandi of "jackpotting" fraudsters.

ATMs running on Windows XP are particularly vulnerable to these attacks and ATM operators have been urged to update their software to a version of Windows 7, the Secret Service memo added.

Small-scale attacks of jackpotting had been reported on a sporadic basis in several countries between 2012 and 2015, but increased significantly starting in 2016 across Europe.

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