What Is ATM Jackpotting Attack?

ATM jackpotting is a form of cybercrime where criminals illegally extract cash from ATMs. Unlike the dramatic scenes in movies, jackpotting doesn’t involve physical violence or ripping ATMs out with cars. Instead, attackers use various techniques, including malware or hacking, to manipulate ATMs into dispensing cash. These attacks exploit vulnerabilities in ATM software or hardware, allowing criminals to access and control the machine remotely, resulting in unauthorized cash withdrawals. To find out more about it, refer to the details below.

ATM Jackpotting Attacks

Note: When conducting online banking, always use a VPN to safeguard your data. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, protecting sensitive information from potential threats. This ensures privacy and security, reducing the risk of cyberattacks and unauthorized access to your financial details

What is ATM Jackpotting Attack?

ATM jackpotting is a sneaky cyberattack that hackers use to make ATMs give out all their cash. They find weaknesses in the machines and exploit them. The aim is to take all the money from the ATM, which isn’t linked to anyone’s bank account. Hackers usually target ATMs outside banks or in shops. They might dress up to look like they belong there, so no one suspects anything while they’re tampering with the ATM.

How Does an ATM Jackpotting Attack Work?

ATM jackpotting attacks involve gaining physical access to the ATM and using a rogue device, such as a portable computer, to execute the attack. The attackers access the internal computer of the ATM, remove the hard drive, and uninstall any antivirus software present. This allows them to install their malware, replace the hard drive, and reboot the ATM. The entire jackpotting operation usually takes less than a minute, allowing the attackers to quickly exploit the ATM and extract cash.

What Are the Types of ATM Jackpotting Attacks?

ATM jackpotting attacks come in various forms, but two primary tactics are commonly employed by cybercriminals:

1. Malware-based jackpotting attack:

In this method, cybercriminals gain physical access to the internal computer of the ATM using specialized keys or surgical tools like endoscopes to locate connection ports. To avoid suspicion, they often disguise themselves as ATM technicians. Once inside, the attackers insert a USB device infected with malware or remotely execute malware via smartphones. This malware is then activated using the ATM’s keyboard or SMS messages. Once activated, the malware instructs the ATM to dispense cash from the cash dispenser. The attackers rely on individuals known as money mules to collect the cash from the hacked ATMs, completing the illicit transaction.

2. Black box ATM jackpotting attack:

In a black box attack, criminals first gain access to the ATM’s computer dashboard and switch it to supervisor mode, which grants them control over the machine’s operations. They then connect a rogue device, often referred to as a black box, to the ATM. This rogue device is designed to mimic the ATM’s internal computer and take over the cash dispenser while keeping the ATM operational for customers. Criminals control the black box wirelessly using a smartphone, sending commands to withdraw cash from the ATM’s cash dispenser. Once the maximum amount of cash is withdrawn, the hacker simply disconnects the black box, leaving no evidence behind of the illicit transaction.

How to Prevent ATM Jackpotting Attacks?

Preventing ATM jackpotting attacks requires a combination of vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard against potential threats. While customers may not always be able to fully protect their bank accounts from ATM fraud, following these simple tips can help minimize the risk:

  • Use ATMs from reputable banks and financial institutions, avoiding standalone machines in locations like shopping malls or businesses. Stick to ATMs located within bank branches or in well-monitored areas to reduce the risk of tampering or fraudulent activity.
  • Protect your PIN code by shielding the keypad while entering it at the ATM. Be cautious of anyone standing behind you or nearby who may attempt to observe or steal your PIN.
  • Regularly monitor your bank statements and transaction history for any unauthorized or suspicious activity. Report any discrepancies or unfamiliar transactions to your bank immediately.
  • Consider transitioning most banking operations to online platforms, where security measures are often more robust. Set appropriate cash withdrawal and transaction limits to limit potential losses in case of unauthorized access.
  • Use a Virtual Private Network¬† when conducting online banking to encrypt your internet connection and protect sensitive information from potential cyber threats. A VPN adds an extra layer of security, safeguarding your data from interception or unauthorized access while banking online.

By staying vigilant and implementing these preventive measures, individuals can reduce their vulnerability to ATM jackpotting attacks and help safeguard their financial assets against fraudulent activity.

How Banks Can Prevent ATM Jackpotting Attacks?

To prevent ATM jackpotting attacks, banks must adopt a multi-faceted approach that addresses both software vulnerabilities and physical security measures. Here are some key strategies banks can implement:

1. Ensure Up-to-Date Security Software

Banks must regularly update their ATM security software and antivirus programs to protect against new strains of ATM jackpotting malware. This includes promptly applying patches and fixes released by software vendors to address known vulnerabilities.

2. Monitor Unusual Activities

Banks should closely monitor ATM activities for any unusual patterns or behaviors that may indicate a jackpotting attack. This includes monitoring for multiple failed login attempts, large cash-out requests, or other suspicious activities that could signal unauthorized access or tampering.

3. Address Common Vulnerabilities

Banks should proactively address common vulnerabilities that hackers exploit, such as disabling auto-boot functions on ATMs. By removing these vulnerabilities, banks can reduce the risk of successful jackpotting attacks.

4. Enhance Mobile Banking Security

Banks should implement robust cybersecurity measures for their online and mobile banking apps to ensure the safety of customer transactions. This includes implementing multi-factor authentication, encryption protocols, and regular security assessments to identify and mitigate potential risks.

4. Improve Physical Security

In addition to software updates, banks should enhance the physical security of their ATM machines. This may include installing CCTV cameras, robust locks, and alarms to deter unauthorized access to the ATM interior or hard drives.

5. Provide Cybersecurity Training

Bank employees should receive regular cybersecurity training to stay informed about emerging cyber threats, including phishing techniques and social engineering tactics. By educating employees about potential risks and best practices for cybersecurity, banks can strengthen their overall security posture and better protect sensitive information and assets.

By implementing these proactive measures, banks can significantly reduce the risk of ATM jackpotting attacks and better safeguard their assets and customers’ information against cyber threats.


ATM jackpotting attacks pose a significant threat to both financial institutions and their customers, as cybercriminals continuously devise new methods to exploit vulnerabilities in ATM systems. However, by implementing a combination of proactive measures, including ensuring up-to-date security software, using a VPN, monitoring for unusual activities, addressing common vulnerabilities, enhancing physical security, and providing cybersecurity training, banks can mitigate the risks associated with ATM jackpotting attacks. By remaining vigilant and proactive in their approach to security, banks can effectively safeguard their assets and protect customers’ information from unauthorized access and fraudulent activity.

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