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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Ex NCR ATM Guy, 21 Sep 2006 @ 3:48pm

    It's the ATM Manufacturers Fault

    Unless there is a hardware interlock on the money safe door, safe door has to be in the "OPEN" position before ANY passwords will work to get into the ATM configuration, the Manufacturer is at fault. Now if someone has the combination to the safe, now that's another issue. Can you say "Inside Job" or "let's read the combination off of the wall"

    As far as ATM's in general dispensing the wrong denomination of cash, it can be the fault of the Teller, ATM machine, or the Network.

    The New NCR and Diebold ATM's are Overpriced Microsoft Windows Boxes. That should make you feel REAL secure.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.