New And Improved Version Of Popular ATM Malware Spotted In The Wild

Image courtesy of Ludovic Bertron

Modern ATMs are just computers attached to machines stuffed with cash, and that means that ATMs can also be infected with malware and viruses. Back in 2009, a piece of malware that could make an ATM spit out cash or give out the card numbers of people who had recently used the machine was found in the wild, the not-very-creatively-named Skimer. Now the security company Kapersky Labs has discovered a new and better (if you’re not a bank or a consumer) version of Skimer out in the wild.

That isn’t a misspelling: the name is a play on the term “skimmer,” which is a device that records card numbers and PINs for customers who use an ATM or payment kiosk. The “Skimer” malware can record customer card numbers, but can also make the machine do even scarier things from a bank’s point of view, like spit out cash.

We’ve seen other pieces of malware that can take over an ATM and make it spit out money. They happen most often in other countries, but malware attacks on ATMs here in the United States do happen.

What does this look like in action? Here’s a team from Kapersky demonstrating how to insert a special card that activates the malware and

How can you protect yourself against these attacks? That’s the thing: you can’t. You can avoid cash machines that look particularly sketchy, but the point of using malware to compromise an ATM is that it’s invisible to customers, and sometimes invisible to bank employees.

ATM is a New Skimmer: Crooks Bring ATMs on Their Side [Kapersky Lab]