According to security researchers, malicious software designed for bitcoin ATMs is already being sold in the “black” markets. For $ 25,000, malware that exploits a vulnerability in the service allows users to raise the price of bitcoin in euros, US dollars, or British pounds.
Researcher Fernando Merke explained: “Unlike conventional ATMs, there is no single set of verification or security standards for ATMs. For example, instead of requiring a credit or debit card for transactions, the ATM bitcoin uses mobile numbers and identity cards to authenticate the user. ”
“Then the user should enter the wallet address or scan his QR-code,” Mr. Merke continued. “Wallets used to store digital currencies are also not standardized and are often downloaded from application stores, which creates another security problem.”
Cryptocurrency is purchased through pre-signed Near-Field Communication cards, Europay and Visa/Mastercard, sold to buyers of malicious programs.
The number of bitcoins-ATMs is about 3500 pieces around the world, and, of course, the malware also has limitations. In particular, it is limited to languages such as German, English, and Russian. These languages correspond to where the bitcoin ATMs are basically grouped since the devices are distributed unevenly.
Popularity breeds criminal prosecution
Bitcoin ATMs in German-speaking countries have about 150 devices installed in 30 locations. For Russian speakers in the Russian Federation and Ukraine, more than four dozen places have machines with which such malicious software will pose a potential threat. English-speaking countries are the most targeted for criminals since in the United Kingdom (171) and the United States (2166) the absolute majority of ATMs are located.
Researchers emphasize that the lack of standardization is, in fact, one of the biggest problems with the safety of bitcoin ATMs. It is alleged that malicious software has already become interested more than 100 times, which may mean dissemination of information. Sellers openly sought to divide revenue from malicious programs between attackers, offering something similar to the revenue distribution scheme.
As long as there is money that can be earned, and in cryptocurrencies there is a lot of money – cybercriminals will continue to develop tools and expand their lucrative new markets. As the number of ATMs increases, you can expect that in the future new forms of malicious programs will appear, aimed at ATMs with cryptocurrency.