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
    Charlie, 21 Sep 2006 @ 6:56am

    I bet a lot of people get letters

    While they don't seem to have a good lead to trace the criminal (prepaid debit card), the vast majority of people using the ATM used personal checking accounts and they know exactly when/where. I would almost certainly bet the ATM owner will be able to have the bankds deduct the extra money from these accounts, and at least a few people will get hit with nasty overdraft charges.

    Failure to secure ones assets doesn't excuse criminal behavior. If I see someone drop cash I am going to give it back to them. To simply take the cash would be dishonest.

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