Cash machines are increasingly hosting malware able to harvest a person’s card details for use in fraud, a situation that could worsen as the malware becomes more sophisticated, according to a security researcher.
Analysts at Trustwave’s SpiderLabs research group were surprised earlier this year when it obtained the ATM malware sample from a financial institution in Eastern Europe, said Andrew Henwood, vice president of SpiderLabs’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operation. Trustwave does forensic investigations for major credit card companies and financial institutions as well as penetration tests.
“It’s the first time we have come across malware of this type,” Henwood said.
The malware records the magnetic stripe information on the back of a card as well as the PIN. That data can be printed out on the ATM’s receipt roll when a special master card is inserted to the ATM that launches a user interface. It can also be recorded on the magnetic stripe of that master control card.
“We were surprised at the level of sophistication,” Henwood said. “It does make us generally pretty nervous.”
Most ATMs run security software, but financial institutions haven’t focused on their security as much as other systems, Henwood said.