It’s as if Taiwan didn’t have enough problems in the form of China’s economic power.
The total amount being reported is around $2 million dollars but some reports have put the figure a little over the $2 million mark.
The hacking event (or hacking robbery) took place recently as hackers, who were reported to be Taiwanese, hacked their way into tricking ATM machine and actually tricked the ATM machines into releasing loads of money without authentication.
Typical ATM robberies, in which assailants don’t use some sort of an assault weapon, are carried out using fake credit cards.
That is the safest way for most ATM thieves. But this robbery didn’t use any credit card at all which makes it one of a kind.
The thieves, who wore masks to hide their identities from security cameras, made use of a custom computer program that helped dupe the ATM machines into unloading large amounts of money.
The robbers then filled their backpacks with the money and simply walked away after a few minutes of work.
The two robbers (or more accurately, two hackers) hacked into, around, 30 ATM machines.
All of them belonged to a bank named Taiwanese First Commercial bank.
Bank officials and relevant authorities are still unsure how the hackers were able to deceive the ATM machines so easily.
ATM machines give out cash when a credit card holder makes a transaction request and hence have very strict security measures in place to ensure that only the genuine credit card holder receives the money.
Some banks have a policy of a “withdraw” limit per day to guard against hackers and robbers, getting away with a ton of money on a successful robbery attempt.
But these hackers just bypassed all the phases and made off with a ton of cash without ever raising an alarm.
Investigators are still unsure how the hackers pulled off such a, what can only be described as, massive heist.
Authorities have stated that they now know that the hackers used some sort of a code to hack into the system but are without answers when it comes to understanding how the hackers were able to deploy such a code into the ATM machines without having access to the backend computers inside the bank.
Bank officials also seem to have little comprehension on how such a code could work let alone figure out how the code was able to break through each and every security measure put in place to protect ATM machines from hackers.
The only useful information that has come out from various reports that have been circulating in the media is that there were indeed two hackers and they finished the job in less than ten minutes.
At least now the authorities know that the hackers were indeed quite uniquely skilled ones and not some average computer science undergraduates.
The code that hackers used to rob the bank was unique in the sense that first it was able to force the ATM machine to spit out large amounts of cash without requiring any authentication method and then the code evolved into being able to remove itself from the entire system to give the impression that the code actually never existed.
In essence, the code tried to clean up any evidence of a robbery.
Police officials have now come out and said that the hacking incident seems to have taken place through a code that was input to the system through the use of a device.
The “money making code,” as it is being labeled in the media, was able to infect the system through the use of a smartphone it has been suggested.
After watching Taiwanese police failure to understand the nature of the crime, some German manufacturers of ATM machines have said that would dispatch investigative teams to Taiwan immediately to find out how the robbery actually took place.
Agence France-Presse talked with some of the Taiwanese officials and has ascertained that the authorities still don’t have a clue of how hackers could steal such large amounts of money from ATMs so quickly.
Authorities are also busy in working out how the attackers could steal money without operating the machines directly.
The Taiwanese police have now suggested that among the two hackers, one may have been a Russian man.
The nationality of the other unknown hacker could not be ascertained. As in addition to a face mask, the hackers also wore hats.
The Russian hacker is said to have left Taiwan and now, the Taiwanese police have sought the help of the Interpol in order to catch the cyber-criminal.
Taiwanese officials also notified the media that the robbery was a totally unique event and that they had never seen such methods being deployed for robbing an ATM machine let alone robbing over 30 ATM machines that spanned over 20 branches of the same bank.
As a result of the attack, the robbed Taiwanese bank has shut down numerous of its ATM machines in order to guard against further follow-up attacks.
Some other banks have also joined in and have shut down their ATM services as well for the fear that their particular ATM machines might also be vulnerable to the same money making code that was used to rob the first bank.
Experts have shown concern and are hoping that these vulnerabilities were present only in certain ATM machines and not all of them.
Otherwise, there is a huge risk of an all-out ATM war after this cyber-crime in which the perpetrators left unscathed.
Others in the media have advised that the vulnerability could very well be present in the chip card reader and that the hackers might have actually used a card.
It may not have been a legitimate credit card but could have easily been a tampered debit card.
It has been suggested that the banks should immediately find solutions and patch up the ATM machines to avoid any more loss of money through such means.