Legal

ATM ‘Jackpotting’ Hackers Hauled Into Court

The U.S. Justice Department has charged two men for allegedly hacking ATM machines in order to illegally obtain cash from them.

According to Reuters, Alex Alberto Fajin-Diaz, a 31-year-old from Spain, and Argenys Rodriguez, 21, of Springfield, Massachusetts, appeared before a federal judge on Monday (Feb. 5) and were charged with criminal bank fraud.

The two men were arrested on related state charges on Jan. 27, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut. They had more than $9,000 in $20 bills, as well as tools and devices that could be used to hack ATM machines and force them to release cash.

The U.S. Secret Service revealed last week that hackers likely tied to international criminal syndicates had stolen more than $1 million from ATM machines across the country, from the Gulf Coast to New England.

Just last week, ATM makers Diebold Nixdorf and NCR Corporation warned that hackers in the U.S., using a scheme commonly called “jackpotting,” were using tools to force ATM machines to release wads of cash.

“This should be treated by all ATM deployers as a call to action to take appropriate steps to protect their ATMs against these forms of attack,” the alert said.

Diebold Nixdorf also revealed that U.S. authorities notified them that hackers are going after one of its ATM model machines, the Opteva, which went out of production several years ago. They also said that some of the hackers’ actions included gaining physical access to the ATMs, replacing the hard drives and using equipment to reset the device.

And Krebs on Security reported that the U.S. Secret Service warned that the hackers are specifically targeting stand-alone ATMs that are often found in drug stores, big-box retailers and drive-thru ATMs.

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