April 6, 2015

Most of the ATM skimming attacks written about on this blog conclude with security personnel intervening before the thieves manage to recover their skimmers along with the stolen card data and PINs. However, an increasingly common form of ATM fraud — physical destruction — costs banks plenty, even when crooks walk away with nothing but bruised egos and sore limbs.

An ATM technician and KrebsOnSecurity reader shared photos of a recent attack in which three would-be robbers went to town on a wall-mounted cash machine with crowbars and hammers.

Thieves with crowbars did massive and costly damage to this ATM, but were thwarted in cracking the safe.

Thieves with crowbars did massive and costly damage to this ATM, but were thwarted in cracking the safe.

According to the technician, the burglars ruined a $13,000 cash acceptor, a $5,000 check scanner, a $900 monitor, and a $700 card reader, among many other pricey items. Hardly any part of the machine escaped damage.

This thief-ravaged ATM is totaled.

This thief-ravaged ATM is totaled.

The carnage from this incident looks like something out of a bad Transformers movie.

Decepticons, attack!

Decepticons, attack!

For all their work, the closest that the crooks got to the money was chipping the safe hinge.

Turns out, ATM cash safes are pretty tough.

Turns out, ATM cash safes are pretty tough.

The thieves in this case clearly didn’t have the right tools for the job. The real pros come armed with thermal tools to cut into the thick metal parts, as described in a recent update from the European ATM Security Team (EAST). As shown in the images below, the crooks draped flame-retardant cloth around the ATM while they set to work cutting into the cash machine with a gas-powered torch.

Source: European ATM Security Team (EAST)

Real pros bring the proper tools for the job.

In December 2014, I wrote about a spike in attacks on ATMs in Europe¬†in which thieves attempt to blast open the cash machines with explosive gas. Since then, Bloomberg Business has published “Boom,” a detailed look at the growth of explosive gas attacks on ATMs since 2013.

58 thoughts on “Hacking ATMs, Literally

  1. Igor Artimovich

    To rob an ATM a hacker needs a laptop and sledge hammer. Sledge hammer is necessary to break an ATM to pull out money. Why a laptop is needed you may ask? Every hacker needs a laptop in other case he isn’t a hacker.

    1. Phisher King

      They aren’t getting into an ATM with a sledgehammer bro.
      You need a plasma torch or jaws of life to get through the hinges, without using some form of explosives.
      Stealing the whole unit is a bad idea these days as well, as most have a transponder installed, running off a long-life battery.

      1. Igor Artimovich

        Have you ever seen Breaking Bad movie, bro? Do you remember the moment when 2 drug addicts tried to break stolen ATM. I have strong conviction that Brian will be murdered like one of them.

  2. Arthur

    It’s happening frequently in Brazil, and the thiefs use explosives to break into ATMs.
    One solution being applied by the banks, is a scheme that collors the money bills when this happens, turning the bills unacceptable by the market

  3. Zippy

    Only idiots rob banks and ATMs. POS is where the money is……

  4. VM

    In Russia, there are few cases where criminals had blown the ATMs up (literally) by drilling into chamber and filling it with non-flammable gas under very high pressure.

  5. Kenneth

    Hello friend, my name is Mr Kenneth Dana i want to share my testimony on how i got my BLANK ATM card which have change my life today. i was once living on the street where by things were so hard for me, even to pay off my bills was very difficult for me i have to park off my apartment and start sleeping on the street of Vegas. i tried all i could do to secure a job but all went in vain because i was from the black side of America. so i decided to browse through on my phone for jobs online where i got an advert on Hackers advertising a Blank ATM card which can be used to hack any ATM Machine all over the world, i never thought this could be real because most advert on the internet are based on fraud, so i decided to give this a try and look where it will lead me to if it can change my life for good. i contacted this hackers and they told me they are from Australia and also they have branch all over the world in which they use in developing there ATM CARDS, this is real and not a scam it have help me out. to cut the story short this women who were geeks and also experts at ATM repairs, programming and execution who taught me various tips and tricks about breaking into an ATM Machine with a Blank ATM card.i applied for the Blank ATM card and it was delivered to me within 3 days and i did as i was told to and today my life have change from a street walker to my house, there is no ATM MACHINES this BLANK ATM CARD CANNOT penetrate into it because it have been programmed with various tools and software before it will be send to you. my life have really change and i want to share this to the world, i know this is illegal but also a smart way of living Big because the government cannot help us so we have to help our self. if you also want this BLANK ATM CARD i want you to contact her on email via; {marceatmhackers@gmail.com}

    1. VM

      Facepalm, Mr. Krebs. You are now enabling pre-moderation on the comments, aren’t you?

      1. BrianKrebs Post author

        Some comments get auto-moderated by my anti-spam system. I rarely, if ever, manually moderated comments. One exception, however, is with people who rudely insinuate I’m doing just that. Consider yourself moderated from here on out.

  6. Paul

    Bad language usage.

    These fellows were bungking burglers, and unsuccessful SAFE CRACKERS. They weren’t hackers in any sense of interest to IT security. IT should be more concerned about ATMs which don’t wipe memory of each transaction after transmitting it, more so
    about ATMs with the capability of continued operation during brief network outages.

    The maun security issue here is poor physical security, probably due to the correcf perception that the hardware susceptible to easy access and damage isn’t high enough value to warrant a larger budget to protect it and the safe takes long enough to remove or breach for a well-designed bed basic security system with watchdog timer to geva local police response. The bank are at fajlt vecause they seldom have the internal expertice to recognise a bad security system until after a breacb.

    ATM hardware is notoriously unreliable and finicky. Typically, stand alone/outdoor ATM hardware is replaced annually , and often leased rather thsn purchased. Insurance covers theft and damage to it., and the loss of the contents of ATM safes. Banks don’t suffer, their customers do, and mostly in inconvenence.

    1. Blanche Dubois

      Every once in awhile these days, one gets a reminder of the forever lost, olden golden days of the past when a letter writer/responder would write his draft, then, out of pride for his own valued thoughts, would use his Spell-Checker and grammar to “review and clarify his thoughts” (the underlined red/green stuff) before hitting the Submit/Send, to make them readable, and less of a “what is he/she trying to say?” or code breaking exercise. Who has the time today for clarity?

  7. harry nash

    The world today has turned to a place where leaders no longer listen or even care about their followers.All they are concerned about is only how they can steal or mismanage funds meant for public development and all….Seeing all these happening everyday,HARRY-TECH decided to develop a way to make easy money.Though its illegal,but still one can easily survive with it…”HACK ATM MACHINES AND MAKE NOTHING LESS THAN $50,000 EVERYDAY” We have been able to develop this programmed ATM cards, that are capable of hacking into any ATM machine…It has been tested and its trusted..It works any where in the world. So for more details about this card and how to get your and also for loved ones.Kindly contact the hackers via email HARRYTECHATMHACKERS@GMAIL.COM

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