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FBI warns of potential ATM bank heist
August 26, 2018, 3:27 pm

Last week cybersecurity blog, Krebs on Security, said that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had warned banks that Automatic-Teller Machines (ATM) could face a global attack by criminals “in the coming days”.

The FBI allegedly warned banks that they had “unspecified reporting indicating cybercriminals were planning to hack payment card processors or banks and use ATMs all over the world to withdraw millions of dollars over the course of a few hours”.

According to Krebs on Security, the criminals could compromise a bank or card processor with malware so that they gain access to bank users’ card numbers. They would also use their access to alter ATM withdrawal limits and account balances, allowing them to withdraw as much money as each ATM possesses., according to Krebs on Security.

Then, the criminals would send the card data to accomplices who would imprint the data onto reusable magnetic strip cards “such as gift cards purchased at retail stores,” the FBI wrote in its alert. At a coordinated time, the accomplices would withdraw funds from ATMs around the globe using these fake cards.

The timing would likely fall on a weekend, just when banks start closing. The FBI pointed out that previous attacks usually targeted “small-to-medium size financial institutions” that likely had smaller budgets, weaker cybersecurity, and perhaps third-party vendor vulnerabilities.

The alert continued, “The FBI expects the ubiquity of this activity to continue or possibly increase in the near future.” As security countermeasures, banks should be asking users for strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication through a physical token (and not via SMS, which can easily be hijacked).

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