BEWARE! ATM hackers can compromise your personal bank accounts too!
Although bank authorities have assured the public that there is no cause for alarm as these recent hackings will not affect their personal accounts, there are computer IT analysts who have a different view. Among them is Dr. Syed Zainudeen Mohd. Shaid, senior lecturer in the Faculty of Computer Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).
When Malaysian Digest asked his opinion about whether the recent ATM hacking incidents can jeopardize personal bank accounts, he gave the following observation;
“Yes, any computerized system is vulnerable to hacking and unauthorized access in any number of ways; perhaps there was no device at that time to prevent the system breach which was not anticipated. otherwise a system upgrade or enhanced security features can make it more difficult for them to hack the ATMs.”
According to Dr. Zainudeen, this modus operandi has been used before in 2012 and similarly, a large sum of money was also lost to the hackers at that time.
“ATM hacking by inserting a malware into the machine operating system through various means has been attempted in Europe and the US over the last few years and this new wave of cybercrime has also reached Malaysia,” he said.
“Usually the perpetrators will carry out their illegal transactions when the banks have just topped up the ATM machines with fresh currency notes; these cyber criminals have the means to monitor and check whether the ATMs are loaded with currency notes or not,” he added.
He also questioned the management of the local banking institutions for not taking prevention and proactive measures to upgrade the security features of their ATM networks nationwide after a similar wave of ATM hackings four years ago.
Dr. Zainudeen explained that ATM machines system can even be remotely hacked so it is not a far stretch for these cyber robbers to find a way to access individual bank accounts in the future.
“With the rise of identity theft worldwide which is made easier by people’s increasing dependence on online transactions, personal data and user information can be easily stolen and misused to gain access and ultimately control over individual bank accounts,” he observed.