Reprogramming Your ATM For Fun And For Profit (Mainly For Profit)

from the not-so-hard-at-all dept

There was some buzz last week after CNN showed a video of an ATM machine that had been programmed to believe it had $5 bills instead of $20s (so any withdrawal actually gave you 4X the money you asked for). The guy who did this just walked in and knew the code to reprogram the ATM. He then left the ATM programmed that way, and the ATM gave a lot of people extra money for nine days before someone pointed out the problem. So how easy would it be for anyone else to do this? Apparently it's ridiculously easy. With a bit of hunting online, it's not too hard to obtain a copy of the manual for the type of ATM machine used, including instructions on how to switch it to diagnostic mode. You do need a password, but the manual lists the typical default passwords that it seems likely many of these ATM owners failed to switch. Hopefully, this new burst of publicity over the issue will encourage owners of the machines to change their passwords -- but if you happen to see certain ATMs with unusually long lines in the near future (and don't mind committing fraud), you might want to withdraw some money.

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  1. identicon
    Burger their, 21 Sep 2006 @ 9:24am

    Re: Honesty

    "He that is faithful in what is least is faithful in what is greatest." ie, honest is honest, dishonest is dishonest, I agree. Some situations allow for some thought, though: Your illustration of an extra burger... you can't give it back, they have to trash it if you do, because they can't re-stock food another customer has touched (sigh because people are freaky and do weird things), so in that case, yes, I might give it back if I noticed it immediately, but not if I noticed later.
    Your teller giving out $300 instead of $200 is incompetent and will be fired (I did this job: You have to be REALLY bad or stupid not to notice 5 stuck bills. But, yes, I've given back a few cents given in error. Once, to give $196 back to a bank for six months, finally gave up & kept it - they wouldn't take it!

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