Europol Warns Banks ATM Cyber Attacks on the Rise

Haythem Elmir

Cyber criminals are increasingly accessing ATM machines through the banks’ networks, with squads of money mules standing by ready to pick up the stolen cash, Europe’s policing agency warned Tuesday.

« The malware being used has evolved significantly and the scope and scale of the attacks have grown proportionately, » said Steven Wilson, who head’s Europol’s EC3 cyber crime centre.

Previously criminals used physical ‘skimming’ devices or USB sticks or CDs to install malware within ATMs but since 2015 « a new and unnerving trend… has been picking up speed, » Europol said in a 40-page report on the latest ATM crime trends.

« The criminals have realised that not only can ATMs be physically attacked, but it is also very possible for these machines to be accessed through the (bank’s) network, » the report said, which was published in conjunction with the Trend Micro security software company.

One of the tricks used by hackers is to send a so-called phishing email to bank employees which once opened, contains software to penetrate the bank’s internal computer network.

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