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ATMs across the globe face major threat of a cyber attack: Report

ATMs around the world are under a major risk of fraudulent cash withdrawals under a coordinated attack. This attack is called "ATM cashout" and has been detected by US' premier investigating agency, FBI.

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ATMs across the globe under threat from major cyber attack: Report

ATMs around the world are under a major risk of fraudulent cash withdrawals. This type of attack is called "ATM cashout" and this particular plan has been detected by US' premier investigating agency, FBI. The attack is aimed at ATMs from different banks. The massive heist is expected to take place with the help of cloned cards. The payment processors of various banks might also be hacked to gain easy access to the cash.

According to a report by Independent, a confidential alert has been sent to banks warning them of a potential attack. The coordinated attack will take place within a window of a few hours and possibly, on a weekend when the banks will be shut.

"Virtually all ATM cashout operations are launched on weekends, often just after financial institutions begin closing for business on Saturday," the cybersecurity expert who obtained the FBI note explained in a blog post.

The report suggests that the robbers are expected to shut down the precautionary or safety features of the ATM, for instance, cash limits. This will allow them to empty the machines at a much faster rate.

Banks have been asked to take note of the threat and update their security systems for any possibility of a coordinated attack.

"The FBI has obtained unspecified reporting indicating cybercriminals are planning to conduct a global Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme in the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach and commonly referred to as an 'unlimited operation'," states the FBI alert to banks.

Last month, a similar premeditated took place across ATMs in the United States. The National Bank of Blacksburg incurred a loss of $2.4 million over the course of several months. In 2016, a Thailand state-owned bank suffered a similar plight where the bank lost $360,000 from ATMs.

In India, earlier this month, residents of Kolkata experienced similar ATM thefts in a short span. According to a report by The Economic Times, 76 victims came forward in a span of just five days. The thieves used skimmers (card copying machines) on ATMs to clone cards. These cards were then used from different locations across the country, a few even from Delhi's Hauz Khas area.

Edited by Danny D'Cruze

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