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.
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.
The carnage from this incident looks like something out of a bad Transformers movie.
For all their work, the closest that the crooks got to the money was chipping the safe hinge.
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.
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.