Back to the list

Crypto ATMs Are Mostly As Protected As Vending Machines

Daniil Danchenko

Within the last decade, the financial industry had a lot of shakeups and changes, which changed the “landscaped of the industry. One of the main ones - growing popularity and mainstream acceptance of the ATMs. And now - Crypto ATMs are being used to buy and sell virtual currency.

Various attacks on the ATMs were always popular among hackers - according to the Europol report from 2016 hacks of the conventional teller machines become far more common and frequent. Crypto ATMs were out of the lists like that for a simple reason - they were pretty uncommon. However, now, according to the latest reports - there are 3.461 crypto machines in the world.

However, everything has changed. This unoriginal, but potentially profitable idea, crypto atm hacking, has found its way into the criminal mind. And online “black market” responded rather fast, by churning out a malware, allowing to hack the machine without a blowtorch or a sledgehammer.

Problems started to rake in rather fast - mostly because unlike their fiat ATMs; they are not following the same standards or technological procedure. Some of the require video identification; some require a full identification, some even send you a QR-code to your cell. However, the thing is, security specialists working on the fiat atms would’ve said only “Wait whaaat?” on this “mighty list” of safety precautions. Basically - a lot of the machines like that are nothing but a glorified vending machine that dishes out crypto instead of sugary drinks.

Also, in Russia, that is very well known for its “digital highwayman” most of the crypto atms look like traditional financial exchange kiosks that require an actual operator to confirm your identity.

Companies that are using and building crypto ATMs were worried by those news, but unlike crypto media and Reddit - they were pretty calm. Markus BEHMANN, one of the MOON ZEBRA company co-founders that are making two-way crypto ATMs doubts that there is a reason to panic.

“ We heard about the news and Jonas, our IT security expert, is always analyzing the ATM, our communication and our workflows for potential security breaches. Normal ATM malware does not work with our ATM, and while some parts of our ATM are the same, it does not really make sense economically to manufacture hardware or software to defraud our Moon Zebra ATM. However, we have quite a few security upgrades, which prevent you from getting any cash or cryptocurrencies (e.g., only dispensed if online). So the only way to cheat would be by using physical force, which will be difficult, seeing it is placed in a secure location - or by using counterfeit money. However, even here we work together with the Central Bank of Malta to test and detect those in our ATM”, — as Markus told to Bitnewstoday.com

But some manufacturers are far more paranoid when it comes to safety. For example, Coinme, that maintain a vast network of crypto ATMs are always vigilant when it comes to the viral threat. Dominick GARRETT, director of engagement, told us about Coinme reaction to the news.

“All financial services are subject to attacks and Bitcoin ATMs are not immune to that. While we have been monitoring the stories that have come to light recently, our team is always working hard to ensure the safety and security of our machines. After all, the protection of our machines and our customers is paramount. We constantly look for ways to upgrade our security. We have noticed an uptick in scam attempts across the industry. From fake twitter accounts posing as Coinme to scammers posing as officials from gas companies or the IRS. We are not recalling any machines but instead focusing on educating our customers about these schemes and providing tips to help them protect their crypto.”

It is evident that industry is growing and illegal aspects of it are not falling behind. Before this moment - most of the crypto related crimes were about encryption viruses or malware that hacks into your PC and mines Monero on it. And now they are looking at the crypto ATMs. This doesn’t seem all that distant from the moment when muggers are not going to demand to hand over your phone and your wallet, but this season hot new item, Ledger Nano S. - after all, crypto fans at Reddit are already discussing the ways to protect their coins in case of home invasion.

Back to the list