Skip to main content

ATM & Bank Card Security

I recently read an article in New Scientist entitled "Want to clone bank cards? Just press 'print'". They state that it has been discovered that
"... a devious piece of criminal coding that has been quietly at work in a clutch of cash machines at banks in Russia and Ukraine. It allows a gang member to walk up to an ATM, insert a "trigger" card, and use the machine's printer to produce a list of all the debit card numbers used that day, including their start and expiry dates - and their PINs. Everything needed, in fact, to clone those cards and start emptying bank accounts."
This is possible because ATM Terminal vendors have succumbed to financial pressures, and the demand for greater functionality, and moved to using standard modular PC architectures and off-the-shelf operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows and Linux. These ATM devices then become vulnerable to similar malware as their desktop counterparts.
SpiderLabs, part of Trustwave, identified that in this case a new version of the 50KB lsass.exe Windows XP file is loaded onto the system via a compromised Borland Delphi installer utility, isadmin.exe (note, that's LSASS.EXE, not 1SASS.EXE as some have reported). You can view the full report from Trustwave as a PDF here. The legitimate lsass.exe executable is used to cache session data in Windows, so that users don't have to re-enter passwords when receiving new emails or returning to a website, which is essentially what the malware developers want to do with the card data. Actually, this has no place on an ATM, but may not be picked up, due to the fact that it is, by default, on most Windows XP installs.
If a trigger card is not detected, the malware stores the transaction data to a file called tr12 and key or PIN data to a file called k1 in the C:/WINDOWS directory. If a trigger card is detected, then a menu of 10 options is displayed for 10 seconds, with functions including: uninstalling, deleting logs, printing logs via the built-in printer encrypted with DES and possibly the ability to export the data onto the trigger card. This particular malware only works on transactions in US dollars, Russian Rouble or Ukrainian Hryvnia. It is also said that chip-and-PIN cards across Europe are not vulnerable to this malware as the PIN is encrypted in the secure PIN pad.
It has been speculated that deploying the malware was either an inside job or the result of bribes and threats; the reasoning being that an attacker would have to have physical access to the ATM to deploy the malware. However, the ATMs and banking network, although separate from the Internet, have not necessarily been hardened enough. Back on 25th November 2003 the first known case of a worm (Welchia) infecting Windows XP based ATM machines was reported, which used the closed financial network to propagate. This was possible because the ATMs weren't patched by the financial institutions in question. This brings on the whole problem of patch management on ATMs as well as placing greater restrictions on the financial networks. How long will it be before keyloggers are available for chip-and-PIN cards as well?

Comments

  1. Ingenious criminal plan, but so scary for the public. It must be from an inside job!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It seems that, no matter how careful we are with our ATM cards or with our financial information, there is always a way for an enterprising thief to rip off.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's amazing that banks are still using windows xp on teller machines.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If a hacker is determine to get info from ATM he will find a way trust me ... this is just one case that we know about with Windows xp ..

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Trusteer or no trust 'ere...

...that is the question. Well, I've had more of a look into Trusteer's Rapport, and it seems that my fears were justified. There are many security professionals out there who are claiming that this is 'snake oil' - marketing hype for something that isn't possible. Trusteer's Rapport gives security 'guaranteed' even if your machine is infected with malware according to their marketing department. Now any security professional worth his salt will tell you that this is rubbish and you should run a mile from claims like this. Anyway, I will try to address a few questions I raised in my last post about this. Firstly, I was correct in my assumption that Rapport requires a list of the servers that you wish to communicate with; it contacts a secure DNS server, which has a list already in it. This is how it switches from a phishing site to the legitimate site silently in the background. I have yet to fully investigate the security of this DNS, however, as most

Web Hosting Security Policy & Guidelines

I have seen so many websites hosted and developed insecurely that I have often thought I should write a guide of sorts for those wanting to commission a new website. Now I have have actually been asked to develop a web hosting security policy and a set of guidelines to give to project managers for dissemination to developers and hosting providers. So, I thought I would share some of my advice here. Before I do, though, I have to answer why we need this policy in the first place? There are many types of attack on websites, but these can be broadly categorised as follows: Denial of Service (DoS), Defacement and Data Breaches/Information Stealing. Data breaches and defacements hurt businesses' reputations and customer confidence as well as having direct financial impacts. But surely any hosting provider or solution developer will have these standards in place, yes? Well, in my experience the answer is no. It is true that they are mostly common sense and most providers will conform

Trusteer's Response to Issues with Rapport

I have been getting a lot of hits on this blog relating to Trusteer's Rapport, so I thought I would take a better look at the product. During my investigations, I was able to log keystrokes on a Windows 7 machine whilst accessing NatWest. However, the cause is as yet unknown as Rapport should be secure against this keylogger, so I'm not going to share the details here yet (there will be a video once Trusteer are happy there is no further threat). I have had quite a dialogue with Trusteer over this potential problem and can report that their guys are pretty switched on, they picked up on this very quickly and are taking it extremely seriously. They are also realistic about all security products and have many layers of security in place within their own product. No security product is 100% secure - it can't be. The best measure of a product, in my opinion, is the company's response to potential problems. I have to admit that Trusteer have been exemplary here. Why do I