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The Green Sheet Online Edition

September 24, 2018 • Issue 18:09:02

Readers Speak: Prevent ATM jackpotting

We wish to thank Paul Albright, executive vice president of Outsource ATM, for sending in the following advice:

ATM jackpotting has moved from Mexico to the United States. This phenomenon utilizes malware known as Ploutus-D, which compromises components of ATM software to gain control of hardware devices such as dispensers, card readers and PIN pads – allowing thieves to dispense all the cash within the machine in a few moments. This new threat has the potential to cause tremendous losses.

While Ploutus-D is used to primarily target Opteva front load and older Persona machines, its base components could also target ATMs from other manufacturers. Fortunately, you can take measures to help protect your own and your merchants' ATMs.

  • Update software and patches: Firewalls and anti-malware protection may be the best defense against an ATM jackpotting attack.
  • Whitelist: Whitelisting, or locking down systems to prevent uploading unauthorized programs and/or USB devices, helps prevent malware entry into ATM computers by automatically blocking anything unfamiliar. Also disable boot and auto-run features.
  • Passcode update: Evaluate machines to ensure passcodes have been updated from manufacturer defaults.
  • Custom keys: An online search for "universal ATM keys" revales a plethora of options for quick purchase. These keys are designed to open nearly any ATM enclosure … and computer. Even if the vault remains secure with a non-standard password, the inner hardware is open for manipulation.
  • Physical security and monitoring: Indoor placement, security cameras and technology to identify tampering and shut down the machine are effective, yet often forgotten, ways to deter criminal activity.

Vigilance is essential. Do a thorough network evaluation and implement as many of the measures I've listed as possible. A multi-layered approach is key. Monitor networks for suspicious activities like unscheduled ATM disconnections or reboots. And if you work with third parties to manage ATM networks, discuss preventive measures for ATM jackpotting with them.

Help your peers

Do you have advice to offer your colleagues in the payments biz? Send your tips to greensheet@greensheet.com. We'll consider previously published blog posts for this page, too. end of article

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