Fake ATM Nabbed by Defcon 'Hackers' in LA

Dennis Faas's picture

You might not call it the traditional hack, but law enforcement officers in Las Vegas have reportedly removed a suspicious ATM (Automated Teller Machine) after security experts attending the DEFCON 17 conference noticed something strangely peculiar about its design.

The ATM in question was located at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, not far from the DEFCON 17 conference, an annual gathering of international hackers and security experts. Those attending the conference -- and let's face it, they're the type that would notice this kind of behavior before anyone else -- realized early on that there was something suspicious about the cash machine. Upon shining a flashlight into the ATM, they further discovered a Personal Computer (PC) inside.

The ATM was only recognized as a fraud when customers noticed its odd LED display and glass screen, neither of which resembled the usual cash machine. (Source: v3.co.uk)

Irony Not Lost on Insiders

DEFCON organizers quickly informed Las Vegas police, who showed up and escorted the ATM away. However, no one has yet announced how long the machine was there or how much time had passed since its 'modification'.

Insiders are snickering over the event, given that conference regulars Juniper Networks -- the Internet protocol services company -- had revealed that they would not be discussing ATM security vulnerabilities.

Adding to the irony is the fact that not too long ago DEFCON presenter Chris Paget was caught on the wrong end of a malicious ATM at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, which nabbed $200 from his account. Law enforcement says they're working on that, too. (Source: eweek.com)

These kinds of operations are not new, but they do remain quite rare in North America. Traditionally, ATM hacks have been an eastern European phenomenon, where Russian and Ukrainian hackers have in the past altered as many as 20 ATMs in order to steal cash and PIN codes.

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