Hackers Snag £1.52 Million From Cash Machines Without Using Credit Card

By William Turton on at

Earlier this week, Taiwanese hackers tricked cash machines into unloading piles of cash—more than $2 million (£1.52 million), in fact—without using a credit card. Instead of using a stolen credit card like most cash machine thieves, these masked robbers used a computer program and walked away with piles of cash in a backpack.

The hackers attacked 30 cash machines belonging to the Taiwanese First Commercial bank. Authorities still aren’t sure exactly how they pulled it off. They know some malicious code was deployed onto the cash machines, but they aren’t yet sure of how the code was able to bypass the cash machines stringent security setup.

The two hackers were reportedly able to complete their heist in less than 10 minutes. The malicious code on the cash machines first had it dump cash, and then cleaned up evidence that the code ever existed. According to Taiwanese police, it appears that the money making code was deployed by some kind of device, potentially a smartphone. The German manufactures of the cash machines said they had dispatched investigators to Taiwan to find out exactly what happened.

“It is still not clear how the suspects stole such a large amount of money from the cash machines,” a Taiwanese official told Agence France-Presse. “My understanding is this is the first time such a criminal method has been discovered here.”

The Taiwanese bank has shut down multiple cash machines since the attack, presumably so hackers don’t shake down the machines for millions in just a few minutes all over again. [AFP]