Two Charged Over 'Jackpotting' Scheme That Makes ATMs Spew Bills

Two men were charged yesterday in the US for allegedly hacking ATMs to make them vomit bills.

Photo: Getty

The hacking method, known as ATM "jackpotting", recently spread to the United States after being an issue in Asia and Europe for years. The security blog Krebs on Security first reported in January that the US Secret Service had been alerting banks that hackers were installing hardware and software in US ATMS that turned the machines into automatic jackpot slots.

Krebs obtained a memo that the Secret Service was sending to financial institutions. "The targeted stand-alone ATMs are routinely located in pharmacies, big box retailers, and drive-thru ATMs," the memo read. "During previous attacks, fraudsters dressed as ATM technicians and attached a laptop computer with a mirror image of the ATM's operating system along with a mobile device to the targeted ATM."

Now the US Department of Justice is cracking down on jackpotters. Yesterday, the DOJ announced it had charged Alex Alberto Fajin-Diaz of Spain and Argenys Rodriguez of Springfield, Massachusetts with bank fraud for their alleged involvement in an ATM jackpotting scheme.

According to the DOJ, police in Cromwell, Connecticut were responding to a report from Citizens Bank investigators about an ATM attack when they found Rodriguez and Fajin-Diaz by an ATM that had been hacked with jackpotting malware and was spewing $US20 notes. The police searched the suspects' car to find hacking tools and $US9000 ($11,454) in $US20 bills.

The maximum term of imprisonment for bank fraud is 30 years.

[US Department of Justice via Reuters]