Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two Arrested in First Bust for ATM Reprogramming Scam

Kevin Poulsen writes on Threat Level:

It took a high-speed chase and some gunplay, but two men in Lincoln, Nebraska, are the first to face felony charges for using default passcodes to reprogram retail cash machines to dispense free money.

Jordan Eske and Nicolas Foster, both 21, are in Lancaster County Jail pending an October 1st arraignment. They're each charged with four counts of theft by deception, and one count of computer fraud, for allegedly pulling cash from privately owned ATMs at four stores in the area. The pair allegedly reprogrammed the machines to believe they were loaded with one-dollar bills instead of tens and twenties. A withdrawal of $20 would thus net $380.

Cash machine reprogramming scams first became public in 2006 when a cyber thief strolled into a gas station in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and, with no special equipment, persuaded the Tranax ATM that it had $5.00 bills in its dispensing tray, instead of $20.00 bills. Threat Level later confirmed that default administrative passcodes for ATMs manufactured by industry leaders Tranax and Triton were printed in owner's manuals easily found online. Both companies said they were surprised by the scam, but an industry association of which they are members privately spotted the capers and warned members over a year earlier.

More here.


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