ATM jackpotting: What do you need to know?

What is ATM Jackpotting?

ATM Jackpotting is when a criminal gains physical access to the ATM machine and drains the ATM of cash. This kind of fraud is distinct from ATM cash-out schemes, in which the perpetrator gains access to a card issuer’s card management system and alters authorization messages sent to the ATM to overcome card or account withdrawal limitations. 

What makes an ATM jackpotting attempt successful? The upper compartment of an ATM, which houses the software-driven components, is more accessible than the highly protected vault-like section used to store currency. The perpetrator sets up a black box that intercepts transaction messages or software with ATM jackpotting malware in that compartment.  

Frequently, robbers target ATMs in retail settings where they can pretend to be a service professional and avoid drawing the attention of staff members. The terminal may be instructed to dispense a lot of notes or to empty the currency cassette by a mule pressing certain digits on the keyboard. In other cases, the virus instructs the terminal to dispense $600 even when the mule appears to be withdrawing $60. Typically, an attack on an ATM is not discovered by the owner until an “out of cash” message is sent by the terminal. 

Preventing successful jackpotting attempts

Since independent ATM owners bear the complete financial burden without insurance, such attacks can be financially disastrous. Below are some of the actions ATM owners can use to prevent such attacks from being successful. These instructions were released by the ATM manufacturers. 

  • Install the latest software updates as released by the manufacturer 
  • Enable SSL/TLS Encryption with certification Validation enabled on each ATM, which is different from only having SSL enabled on a wireless modem 
  • Enable CDU Binding option (Some obsolete ATM Models do not have that option) 

For detailed instructions per manufacturer on how to enable CDU Binding, please click on the appropriate links below: 

Genmega CDU Binding
Hyosung CDU Binding