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Hackers raid Taiwanese ATMs with banking malware that spits cash on command

Investigators in Taiwan are on the lookout for two Russian nationals suspected of hacking into ATMs and stealing more than $2 million in cash. It is believed that the two crooks used a mobile phone to trigger 41 ATMs into dispensing large amounts of cash. The two men, despite their clandestine hacking, still managed to get themselves filmed on CCTV at the ATM locations.

The attack is part of a growing problem in Asia, where gangs of thieves are becoming more ingenious and more ambitious in stealing money from banks. In response a number of Taiwan’s largest financial institutions have frozen withdrawal services from around 1,000 ATMs of the same kind the thieves targeted, all of them supplied by Wincor Nixdorf. Around 4% of Taiwan’s 27,000-strong ATM network is affected. “So far we think it could have been done remotely, such as via a cellphone, laptop or hacked First Bank staff PC,” said Lin Cheng-hsien, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau.

First Bank itself has reported that $2.2 million was stolen from its ATMs in hacking hit-and-run attacks that occurred in both daylight and at night. Three different types of malware have been identified as the vectors for the attacks, each one causes an ATM to dispense cash on command.

Wincor Nixdorf is aware of the heists, and a spokesperson said, “attacks follow a similar pattern, irrespective of their make or brand, and we as well as the banks are aware of them. The details of the attack are being examined by the police, banks as well as experts from Wincor Nixdorf. To support the local teams we have sent security experts.”

The case is the first in the country’s history.

By Alex Hamilton

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