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Cash machine 'jackpot' demo pulled at request of ATM vendor

01 July 2009  |  12638 views  |  1 atm

A security analyst scheduled to perform a live demo of an ATM cracking operation at a hacker's conference in Las Vegas has pulled out of the show after the cash machine manufacturer called for more time to protect bank customers from the vulnerability.

Barnaby Jack, a researcher with Juniper Networks, was to give a talk at the upcoming Black Hat conference showing how he could 'jackpot' a popular ATM brand by exploiting a vulnerability in its software.

The conference blurb for his presentation promised that Jack would "explore both local and remote attack vectors, and finish with a live demonstration of an attack on an unmodified, stock ATM".

However, the ATM vendor in question contacted his employer Juniper Networks and called for the talk to be pulled.

In a statement, Juniper says: "The affected ATM vendor has expressed to us concern about publicly disclosing the research findings before its constituents were fully protected. Considering the scope and possible exposure of this issue on other vendors, Juniper decided to postpone Jack's presentation until all affected vendors have sufficiently addressed the issues found in his research."

Earlier this week, analysts at Trustwave warned of the spread of a malware infection on Windows ATMs that enabled criminals to harvest card data and PIN codes via the machine's recipt printer. Analysts also discovered code indicating that the malware could eject the cash dispensing cassette.

Back in 2003, Diebold partnered with firewall vendor Sygate in an effort to protect its automated teller machines from future virus attacks after admitting that a computer worm had infected devices at two of its banking customers.

However, it issued an alert earlier this year warning that Russian hackers had installed rogue software on some Opteva ATMs in Russia and the Ukraine. The vendor said it would issue a security software update to address the risk and recommended urgent installation on all of its Windows ATMs globally.

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 02 July, 2009, 19:16

Black Hat had more information on the talk (now removed):

"Rarely do we see any targeted attacks on the underlying softare. This presentation will retrace the steps I took to interface with, analyze, and find a vulnerablity in a line of popular new ATMs."

My guess is he was going to exploit the Hardware Security Module.

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