New Sophisticated ATM Attack Could Be Coming To A POS Near You

In the history of data breaches, attacks are often first tried on bank ATM machines (because that's where the money is and the units are often outside 24x7) before migrating down to retail POS. But if the ATM assaults work well, don't think they won't migrate. Mention this because of a fiendishly clever series of ATM attacks in Russia and the Ukraine where cyberthieves "insert customized cards into the machine in order to retrieve encrypted PIN and magnetic stripe data," according to payment newsletter The Nilson Report.

"Once the malware had been installed into the ATM’s transaction-processing application, it was able to respond to cards designed to trigger the appearance of a screen menu listing illicit actions," the newsletter reported. "These included the ability to write the stolen data onto the trigger card’s magnetic stripe or to print it as hard copy, in an encrypted format, from the receipt printer. A multifunction card also had the ability to eject cash cassettes loaded from the front of the machine." Imagine what such a breach could do with a retail chain's full payment and POS databases?