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How to turn an ATM into a slot machine

Jul 30, 2010 - by admin
ATM Jackpot

Barnaby Jack has a special power – he can walk up to an ATM and trick the machine into thinking it is a casino jackpot slot game. Once Barnaby has performed his magic, the ATM will start spitting out money onto the ground faster than most people can enter their PIN code.

Barnaby is no magician. He is actually a security researcher, and he recently demonstrated his unique hacking skills at the Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas. His session, titled “Jackpotting Automated Teller Machines Redux”, was put together to bring attention to issues of digital security in today’s world of computers.

During the Black Hat conference, Barnaby hacked two different brands of ATM machines. He bought the machines online, and spent years going over the program code that powers them, looking for weaknesses. These are not the only ATMs he has hacked; in fact, Barnaby says he has yet to find an ATM that he couldn’t exploit to get free cash.

The issue of digital security in the online gambling world has been in the news recently, after Canada’s BC Lottery Commission launched the country’s first-ever fully licensed internet gambling website. Unfortunately, the site contained a massive security glitch, and within hours it had to be shut down. It seems that player accounts were crossing over, and certain casino users were able to gamble with other players’ money. Some 200 accounts were compromised before the site was taken offline.

Fortunately, these sorts of problems with online gambling sites are rare. The software that powers online casinos is rigorously tested prior to release, and new games undergo testing by third-party companies to make sure they are random and fair. Just as most people have no idea how to hack an ATM, most online casino users can gamble for years and years without ever running into problems.

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