Skip to main content

FBI Warns of Coming Massive ATM Hack: Here's How You Can Protect Yourself


Share This article

The FBI is warning banks to guard against possible attacks on ATMs.

The blog Krebs on Security reports a network of cybercriminals is plotting a global scheme called "ATM Cashout."

That's where hackers break into a bank or payment card processor and use fake cards to withdraw millions around the world. They often target small-to-medium size financial institutions that don't have the best cybersecurity.

Krebs cites a confidential FBI alert that the scheme could be carried out in coming days. The confidential alert states:

"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.'"

"So they have all of these card numbers and potential pin numbers that go along with these. What they do is clone a bunch of these and wait for a weekend and guess what is coming up? Labor Day. Monday, September 3rd," Morgan Wright, CEO of Crowd Sourced Investigation, told CBN News.

"So they've got Saturday, Sunday, and they've got Monday because it's a holiday and before you know it they got three days of activity going on," Wright added.

That's three days allowing the crooks to steal millions of dollars.

Krebs has reported on this type of ATM hacking before. They previously broke the story about a $2.4 million ATM hacking heist from accounts at the National Bank of Blacksburg in Virginia in two incidents between May 2016 and January 2017.

"Organized cybercrime gangs that coordinate unlimited attacks typically do so by hacking or phishing their way into a bank or payment card processor," Krebs reports. "Just prior to executing on ATM cashouts, the intruders will remove many fraud controls at the financial institution, such as maximum ATM withdrawal amounts and any limits on the number of customer ATM transactions daily."

Meanwhile, the FBI is urging banks to review their security, such as implementing stronger password requirements and updating software.

Most bank accounts are insured, but customers still need to know the maximum protection.

Security experts say it's important to monitor accounts regularly by going online or at least checking monthly statements.

The sooner you report suspicious behavior, the more likely you are to get at least some of your money back.

"If you go online you can check more regularly. But at least in my experience looking at them monthly, I can still contest them," economic researcher Don House told CBN News.

The FBI also advises consumers to examine any ATM carefully before using it, and look for card readers or even cameras.

That’s because these crooks have to physically hack the ATM and wait for the money to be dispensed.

Agents are advising the public that if they see that happening, they should immediately call the police.

More about the warning here.

Share This article

About The Author


Drew Parkhill is a Senior Producer for CBN News. He selects the news stories used in the daily news segment on The 700 Club. He is also a member of the CBN News editorial team, and serves as the Financial Editor. Parkhill has worked at CBN since 1980, and with CBN News since 1985. He began producing the news segment of the 700 Club in 1989. Drew graduated from Ohio State with a BA degree in Journalism, and from CBN (now Regent) University with a Masters in Communication. His interests cover a wide range of subjects, including current events, financial markets, Biblical studies, science