Menu
Smaller banks warned of hackers raising ATM withdrawal limits

Smaller banks warned of hackers raising ATM withdrawal limits

A US federal agency warns of 'unlimited operations' where payment card limits are raised by attackers

Smaller financial institutions have been warned to look out for attacks that aim to increase the withdrawal limit on customer payment cards for fraud purposes.

The so-called "unlimited operations," as the U.S. Secret Service calls them, can cause financial institutions to incur large dollar losses, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) warned Wednesday.

The agency said cybercriminals are trying to access the Web-based ATM control panels used by bank employees, which are used to set the amount of money customers can withdraw, and the geographies where they can take money out.

To gain access, the cybercriminals target bank employees with phishing emails that aim to trick them into divulging their login credentials.

"When criminals obtain this information, they may use an employee's login credentials to gain access to the control panel and change the settings to permit greater or unlimited cash disbursements at ATM machines, and to change other fraud and security related controls," the FFIEC said in its advisory.

The cybercriminals then use payment card information obtained through other attacks to make withdrawals, usually on holidays and weekends when monitoring by banks is more limited. With the normal limits modified, the thefts can be fast and costly.

"The cash-out phase of the attack involves criminals organizing simultaneous withdrawals of large amounts of cash from multiple ATMs over a short time period, usually four hours to two days," the FFIEC said.

In December 2012 and January 2013, a well-planned unlimited operation used a network of people in multiple countries to withdraw funds from customers of the Bank of Muscat, based in Oman, and the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah PSC, also known as RAKBANK, in the United Arab Emirates.

RAKBANK suffered US$5 million in losses after 4,500 ATM withdrawals were made in 20 countries on Dec. 22, 2012. A second attack on Feb. 19 and 20 saw the Bank of Muscat lose $40 million, withdrawn by people in 20 countries in just 10 hours.

Hackers raised the withdrawal limits on the cards after breaking into prepaid Visa and MasterCard credit card processors in the U.S. and India. U.S. authorities arrested 14 people, with other arrests made in Spain and Germany.

The FFIEC advised that institutions update login credentials for such systems that manage ATM limits and implement multifactor authentication.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Federal Financial Institutions Examination Councilsecuritydata breachdata protectionmalwarefraud

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments