Bank ATMs are a lucrative target for hackers, as these devices can be exploited in a multitude of ways. Cybercrime is becoming more prevalent where these machines are concerned, and thieves are mainly targeting European devices. Thanks to the usage of malware, they can force ATMs to dispense money until they are empty. This is anything but good news for the world’s largest ATM makers.
European Bank ATMs Are Under Constant Threat
NCR Corp and Diebold Nixdorf are the world’s largest ATM manufacturers, and they are both aware of attacks taking place in Europe. Mitigating this attack vector is not as simple as one would think. It also appears that the threats originated in Taiwan and Thailand, where assailants emptied bank ATMs in a matter of mere minutes across the country.
Recent heists across Europe all relied on centralized command-and-control servers. This principle is similar to how ransomware works, as criminals deploy malware to track machines into spitting out cash. Due to the deployment of malware, criminals can also attack a much larger network of devices, which is a constant worry for the manufacturers and banks.
So far, it remains unclear if criminals are targeting specific banks in their cyber heists. We do know, however, that the majority of victims are located in Eastern Europe, The Netherlands, Britain, and Spain. It is not unlikely that this threat will expand to other countries in the coming months. In fact, experts have already predicted that the number of these heists will be on the increase.
Instead of stealing card numbers by using skimmers, the deployment of malware gives the criminals a far more flexible way of breaching security. Since there is little to no hardware involved in the process, it can take months, if not years, for banks to notice that their systems have been penetrated. Moreover, using malicious software allows assailants to access electronic payment networks as well, although ATMs remain their primary target for now.
It is evident that a solution needs to be found before this trend gets out of hand even further. Even though none of these heists affects customer savings stored with a particular bank, bleeding money is not an option for financial institutions. One step in the right direction would be to identify who is behind these attacks–a big unknown for now.
This is yet another major concern for banks all over the world amid the pre-existing global turmoil. Some people may even argue that banks are the weakest link in the financial equation, as they seem incapable of keeping customer funds safe. Now would be a good time to take control of one’s own funds, and consider alternative options to storing money in a bank account.
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