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Black Box: A New ATM Attack that Diebold Nixdorf Warns Off

hackers make the ATMs dispense out cash in piles

A unique kind of ATM attack has come to surface called "Black Box." ATM developer Nixdorf warns the financial sector to stay on alert. The attack was widespread accross Europe recently. The Black Box ATM attacks are similar to Jackpotting, in which hackers make the ATMs dispense out cash in piles. Hackers use jackpotting to attach a malware in the ATM or use a black box instead. "Some of the successful attacks show a new adapted Modus Operandi on how the attack is performed.
"Although the fraudster is still connecting an external device, at this stage of our investigations, it appears that this device also contains parts of the software stack of the attacked ATM," says Diebold.


In the case of black-box attacks, the hacker tampers with the ATM's external casing and gets access to the port. The hacker can also put a hole in the machine to find internal wires and connectors. Once the hacker has access, he connects the black-box with the ATM through a laptop, building a connection with the internal systems. After this, the hacker then has control over the command options and uses it to dispense cash out of the ATM.

These kinds of jackpotting attacks on ATMs have happened for a decade. The jackpotting attacks have been quite famous among gangs, as the method is very cost-effective and profitable. Jackpotting attacks are more straightforward compared to cloning cards, ATM skimming, and laundering money, which consumes quite a lot of time. Another reason for the popularity of black-box attacks is that the noob hackers (amateur) don't have to spend a lot of money to get a black box. One can purchase a device and launch an ATM attack without having to spare a lot of time.

"In recent incidents, attackers focus on outdoor systems and are destroying parts of the fascia to gain physical access to the head compartment. Next, the USB cable between the CMD-V4 dispenser and the special electronics, or the cable between special electronics and the ATM PC, was unplugged. This cable is connected to the black box of the attacker to send illegitimate dispense commands," says Diebold on his website.
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