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ATM jackpotting

ATM jackpotting

ATM jackpotting definition

ATM jackpotting is a cyber attack in which an attacker forces an ATM to dispense large amounts of cash. It’s a reference to hitting a jackpot on a slot machine.

The attacker can employ a few techniques to compromise the machine. The attacker can first gain physical access to the ATM by disguising as a maintenance technician and introducing malware via USB or using specialized electronic devices to interface directly with the machine’s internals. Attackers may also try to intercept and manipulate the communication between the ATM’s computer and cash dispenser via a man-in-the-middle attack.

See also: man-in-the-middle attack, ATM skimming

History of ATM jackpotting

Jackpotting attacks began in Europe and Asia in the mid-to-late 2000s and immediately gained significant attention due to their audacity. Early jackpotting required more intricate knowledge of the ATM systems, but eventually, tools like ” Ploutus” emerged — first discovered around 2013 in Mexico — making it easier to compromise ATMs.

Jackpotting appeared in the US around 2017-2018 and led law enforcement agencies to issue alerts and advisories to financial institutions.

In response, ATM manufacturers and financial institutions had to update their security: introduce advanced hardware encryption and more secure software, apply behavior analytics to detect unusual patterns, and upgrade physical security measures.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security