UDTSecure Threat Advisory – ‘UNLIMITED’ ATM Cashout Blitz Attacks


Threat ID: 1037985
Date: August 15th, 2018
Status: Confirmed
Impact: ‘UNLIMITED’ ATM Cashout Blitz Attacks
Security Rating: CRITICAL

Threat Overview
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is warning banks that cybercriminals are preparing to carry out a highly choreographed, global fraud scheme known as an “ATM cash-out,” in which crooks hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at cash machines around the world to fraudulently withdraw millions of dollars in just a few hours. The attacks are expected to occur within the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach commonly referred to as an ‘unlimited operation’.

The attacks compromise a financial institution or payment card processor with malware to access bank customer card information and exploit network access, which enable large scale theft of funds from ATMs. These attacks typically occur by phishing their way into a bank or payment card processor. The intruders usually remove many fraud controls such as maximum ATM withdrawal amounts and limits on the number of customer transactions allowed daily. The cyber criminals also alter account balances and security measures to make an unlimited amount of available funds at the time of the transactions, allowing for large amounts of cash to be quickly removed from the ATM.

The cyber criminals typically create fraudulent copies of legitimate cards by sending stolen card data to co-conspirators who imprint the data on reusable magnetic strip cards, such as gift cards purchased at retail stores. At a pre-determined time, the co-conspirators withdraw account funds from ATMs using these cards.

UDTSecure Recommendations
UDTSecure Cyber Security Consultants are urging our Financial Services clients consider implementing the following best security practices if not in place already to further reduce the threat:

  • Implement separation of duties or dual authentication procedures for account balance or withdrawal increases above a specified threshold.
  • Implement application whitelisting to block the execution of malware.
  • Monitor, audit and limit administrator and business critical accounts with the authority to modify the account attributes mentioned above.
  • Monitor for the presence of remote network protocols and administrative tools used to pivot back into the network and conduct post-exploitation of a network, such as Powershell, cobalt strike and TeamViewer.
  • Monitor for encrypted traffic (SSL or TLS) traveling over non-standard ports.
  • Monitor for network traffic to regions wherein you would not expect to see outbound connections from the financial institution.
  • Ensure all system logs are enabled and these logs are stored for a minimum period of 90 days particularly for all mission critical systems such as AD and Database Servers.
  • Ensure all employees are on the alert for incoming emails containing misspells in the domain name of the sender’s email address or in the context of the email itself. Specify they are not to click on any links included within the body of these messages.
  • Review the network connections, access privileges and activities of all Vendor or Third-Party vendors considered High-Risk Vendors due to the services they provide your organization.
  • This review should apply to all 3rd Party Vendors but priority should be given to High-Risk Vendors first.

If you suspect you’ve been the target of this attack, please call us immediately at 1-800-882-9919 and speak to one of our Cyber Security Consultants.

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Experiencing a security breach?

Get immediate assistance from our security operations center! Take the following recommended actions NOW while we get on the case:


  1. Determine which systems were impacted and immediately isolate them. Take the network offline at the switch level or physically unplug the systems from the wired or wireless network.
  2. Immediately take backups offline to preserve them. Scan backups with anti-virus and malware tools to ensure they’re not infected
  3. Initiate an immediate password reset on affected user accounts with new passwords that are no less than 14 characters in length. Do this for Senior Management accounts as well.

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