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
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Sep 2006 @ 6:35am

    Re: But who is really at fault

    Duh, both.

    The Bank is guilty of not taking adequate measures to secure their assets, and they will be judged and punished by whatever activity is responsible for making sure they are taking adequate measures to protect their assets, be it their insurance companies, board of directors... yada yada. But they have not done anything criminally wrong, not to my knowledge, at least (IANAL).

    The jackass who is tampering with the atm is responsible for stealing from the bank. Every dollar that the ATM gave out "extra" is given out because the tamperer caused the machine to give out extra. HE effectively stole the money, whether or not he ever touched it or benefited from it. His crime was a criminal act. I jsut hope no dumbass judge thinks this case is somehow different because it involved technology.

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