Malware for Bitcoin ATMs Currently Selling for $25,000
A new research report revealed that malware for Bitcoin ATMs is currently selling on the black market for $25,000. The malware appears to be targeting ATM operators rather than customers.
Security researchers from the Tokyo-based security software manufacturer Trend Micro has discovered a malware targeting Bitcoin ATMs in the underground markets.
Malware for Bitcoin ATMs
According to the security report, the malicious software, which is being sold for $25,000, reportedly exploits a Bitcoin ATM vulnerability, allowing fraudsters to receive the Bitcoin equivalent of up to 6,750 U.S. Dollars, Euros, or Pounds without sending Bitcoin to the ATM operator.
According to Trend Micro, the seller also offers regular ATM malware that has been updated for EMV standards on another forum thread.
While the Bitcoin ATM malware can be used in any location of the world, support by the malware vendor is restricted to the English, Russian and German-speaking markets.
Bitcoin ATMs now on the rise
As the nascent industry grows, the financial industry developed technology innovations alongside, including new ATMs to increase the use and popularity of cryptocurrencies, these are popularly known as Bitcoin (BTC) ATM.
Regular ATMs have long been a target for cybercriminals, but Threat Researchers at Trend Micro have noted that they are now beginning to shift to Bitcoin ATMs.
The Bitcoin ATM malware has been much less talked about, perhaps because of the relatively low number of machines available globally, however, the number of Bitcoin ATMs has begun to grow.
In July this year, we reported that the number of Bitcoin ATMs have exceeded 3,500 across the globe.
According to the report, the United States currently has 2166 Bitcoin ATMs while the United Kingdom boasts of 171 such devices.
The Russian Federation is also in the top five with 72 Bitcoin ATMs, Austria has about 153 machines and Switzerland has about 29, both nations boast of a significant number of German speakers.
Bitcoin ATMs lack a common standard
According to the cybersecurity researchers, the fact that Bitcoin ATMs lack a standardization may be contributing to the problem.
Senior Threat Researcher at Trend Micro, Fernando Merces. Wrote:
“Unlike regular ATMs, there is no single set of verification or security standards for Bitcoin ATMs. For example, instead of requiring an ATM, credit, or debit card for transactions, a Bitcoin ATM involves the use of mobile numbers and ID cards for user identity verification… The user then has to input a wallet address or scan its QR code. The wallets used to store digital currencies are not standardized either and are often downloaded from app stores, posing another security problem.”
According to the analysis conducted by researchers at Trend Micro, the vendor of the malware has received hundreds of reviews, meaning the malware could be gaining traction which is bad for business.
The researchers have also stated that the situation could get worse as the vendor have been proposing partnerships with interested parties on a revenue-sharing basis.
The research also revealed that the malware exploits a menu vulnerability to disconnect an ATM from the network in order to disable alarms. Trend Micro advised:
“As long as there is money to be made — and there is quite a bit of money in cryptocurrencies — cybercriminals will continue to devise tools and to expand to lucrative new ‘markets.’ As the number of Bitcoin ATMs grows, we can expect to see more forms of malware targeting cryptocurrency ATMs in the future.”