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The US Secret Service warns banks of a new series of incidents when it comes to ATMs. According to the secret service, more and more ATMs are being tapped. Malicious parties have to follow a number of steps, which can still be quite complicated.

Krebs on Security received a copy of the letter that the Secret Service sent to banks. The report states that a number of incidents have been reported in which ATMs have been cracked in this way. Tapping or eavesdropping on ATMs is more complicated than most other attacks.

Complex method

To be successful, a criminal must drill a large hole in the ATM. Then, using a combination of magnets and devices, they attach a skimmer to the card reader of the ATM. In this way, they can steal information about the user’s bank cards directly.

The hole that has been drilled is then closed, often with metal. Cameras are also hung directly above the keyboard and disguised so that they don’t stand out. This allows criminals to read customers’ PINs directly and steal money. Within the attack, an endoscope is often used to check whether the skimmer is in the right place.

Partly because of this, it is a complicated way of cracking, which in some cases takes a few days. It is therefore a risky and complicated way for criminals to steal money. There must also be a certain delay between the installation of the skimmer and the hanging of the cameras – otherwise the alarm systems will go off the benches.


According to the Secret Service, the method is still emerging. This also seems to be due to the fact that there are documents circulating in the underworld which explain very precisely how the attacks can be carried out. The expectation is that in the future, criminals will always take advantage of this.

IBM also reports that, as a result of these hacking problems, it has seen the number of requests to test ATMs on its security grow by three hundred percent since 2017. That alone points to a major increase. In the United States this is still a relatively new problem, here in Europe it has been problematic for a long time.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.