Monday, 31 August 2009

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?

4 comments:

ATM Service said...

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

Simon said...

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.

atm sales said...

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

ATM machines said...

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 ..

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