Windows XP flaw: ATMs Being Hacked By Just An Sms

‎We already know that Microsoft's support for  windows XP
has been ended on 8th April of this year , apparently 95%
of the world's 3 million ATM machines are runnnig on it.
Microsoft's decision to withdraw support for Windows XP
poses critical security threat to the economic
infrastructure worldwide.
Security researchers at Antivirus firm Symantec claimed
that hackers can exploit a weakness in Windows XP
based ATMs, that allow them to withdraw cash simply by
sending an SMS to compromised ATMs.

‎What was interesting about this variant of
Ploutus was that it allowed cybercriminals to
simply send an SMS to the compromised
ATM, then walk up and collect the dispensed
cash. It may seem incredible, but this
technique is being used in a number of places
across the world at this time. researchers

 ‎According to researchers – In 2013, they detected a
malware named Backdoor. Ploutus, installed on ATMs in
Mexico, which is designed to rob a certain type of
standalone ATM with just the text messages.
To install the malware into ATMs machines, hacker must
connect the ATM to a mobile phone via USB tethering and
then to initiate a shared Internet connection, which then
can be used to send specific SMS commands to the phone
attached or hardwired inside the ATM.

Since the phone is connected to the ATM
through the USB port, the phone also draws
power from the connection, which charges the
phone battery. As a result, the phone will
remain powered up indefinitely.

How can this be achieved? 

  • Connect a mobile phone to the machine with a USB cable and install Ploutus Malware.
  • The attacker sends two SMS messages to the mobile phone inside the ATM‎ SMS 1 contains a valid activation ID to activate the malware. SMS 2 contains a valid dispense command to get the money out.
  • Mobile attached inside the ATM detects valid‎ incoming SMS messages and forwards them to the ATM as a TCP or UDP packet.
  • Network packet monitor (NPM) module coded in the malware receives the TCP/UDP packet and if it contains a valid command, it will execute Ploutus‎ Amount for Cash withdrawal is pre-configured‎ inside the malware.
  • Finally, the hacker can collect cash from the‎ hacked ATM machine.

Researchers have detected few more advanced variants of this malware, some attempts to steal customer card and PIN data, while others attempt man-in-the-middle attacks.
This malware is  now spreading to other countries, so you are recommended to pay extra attention and remain cautious while using an ATM.

Source :


Popular Posts