At the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas this week, IOActive’s director of security research gave a demonstration of how he learned to crack the security of various standalone ATMs after coming across several errors and security weaknesses in their [software] coding, allowing him to gain full access to the machines’ safes. He wrote multiple programs to exploit some of the machines’ weaknesses including one that allows him to gain remote entry without the need of a password, which he calls Dillinger, and a second program, Scrooge, that relies on a back-door entry with the ability to conceal itself from the machine’s main operating system. In the case of Triton’s ATMs, the researcher found the motherboard of the machine was sorely lacking in physical security, and once he had gained access to it, he was easily able to use a similar back-door technique then simply trick the machine into thinking that the hack was actually a legitimate update. So far, the researcher has attempted to hack four different ATMs and, as he demonstrated at the conference, he has found that the same “game over vulnerability” has enabled him to crack every one of them.

Concerning the growing problem of skimming, Security Magazine Blog has learned of one of the biggest thefts so far. Police have released images of five men believed to linked to an international ATM skimming scam that has fleeced millions of dollars from Melbourne, Australia, bank customers this year. At least 28 machines around Melbourne have been compromised since March in an elaborate scheme believed to have links to Eastern European crime gangs. The crime syndicate is one of two that are preying on Melburnians and stealing their card details and cash. In a separate scam, Melbourne shop workers are being offered upwards of $40,000 to let scammers tamper with their Eftpos machines, enabling them to steal the PINs and card details of shoppers. The devices, including a card reader and a pinhole camera, had been placed on ATMs outside banks and on stand-alone machines with a high turnover of customers, including at large shopping centers. All banks were being targeted.

In the U.S., the skimmers have started hitting gas pump skimmers. Thieves have placed credit-card skimming devices in the housing of gas pumps at 12 stations in Colorado. Federal authorities are tight-lipped about the investigation, so it is up to station owners and customers to take steps to protect sensitive information. However, a representative from the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association said: “The gasoline industry has just finished a nationwide system upgrade that [only] secures customer information on the back end,” so that once the credit card information is processed at the pump, it is triple encoded and cannot be stored at the station itself. He added that the only remaining access point for people who want to compromise this information is at the beginning of the transaction at the pump. The petroleum industry representative recommends paying with cash, or taking a credit card to the station’s attendant inside.

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