How to hack an ATM machine

An ATM machine is where the moolah is. If you ever thought of getting your hands on the money in ATM, this how you need to chanelise your thoughts.

First of there is no easy no easy way to hack an ATM machine. With growing number of banks and their customers, ATM networks are growing. And they are becoming increasingly tough to hack. The most common ATMs these days are  wincor nixdorf ATM, Diebold ATM and Defcon ATM.

Second, don’t be mused by arbitrary ATM hack tricks like:

  • Hacking ATM using SIM card
  • ATM hacking through USB drive
  • Hacking ATM using a card with blank strip
  • Hacking ATM using mobile phone, through some App

These trick are bogus and are worthy only to be shared as WhatsApp forward jokes.

To become a serious hacker, you first of all need to get your hands on the right tools. A hacker is always known by the tools he uses. These tools constitute combination of right hardware (card, card writer, etc) and a right mindset.

Network Approach – A slightly older yet popular way for hackers was to interrupt X.25 network with MITM (Man In The Middle) hack. This hack essentially makes the ATM understand that it has received authorization to dispense money at the request of the hacker. ATM has to be working on X.25 network for this hack to succeed.

Card skimmers – This is a physical method. Most common and simple method to hack an ATM is to use a Card Skimmer tools. These are usually a combination of a card reader (intelligently installed onto the ATM’s card slot) along with a keypad (placed over the ATM’s keypad). As soon as the card is dipped into the slot on ATM, the card reader records the card details and the key presses are logged into the skimmer keypad. Then you can write the skimmed card details onto a blank card and get the clone of the original ATM card. This clone card would work on any ATM and get you all the cash in the victim’s bank account.

ATM master key – This method grants you access to ATM’s maintenance mode where you can withdraw funds from the ATM by manipulating ATM software. And no one’s account would get debited (other than the target bank). This method can be used to withdraw cash from ATM without actually meddling with the machine or causing any damage. One needs to visit the target ATM first to check the manufacturer and model details. Once you have them, just go to ebay or AliBaba and find the suitable ATM maintenance master key. Master key will lead you to the motherboard of the ATM where you can plug in the update USB key and withdraw all the cash in the machine.

Additionally there other remote ATM hacking tools (Dillinger) and rootkits (Scrooge) which can be downloaded and used at the ATM.

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