ATM hackers in Kolkata steal around ₹2 cr, more machines detected
- The hackers are suspected to be part of a gang that carried out a similar operation in Faridabad of the Delhi/NCR region.
The ongoing probe by the detective department of the Kolkata Police has found that hackers have stolen around ₹2 crore from at least 10 unguarded automated teller machines (ATM) in the city between May 14 and 22 by intercepting the two-way encrypted messaging and data system that connects an ATM to a bank’s main server, police said.
The hackers stole anything between ₹2 to 20 lakh from each machine using technology that experts refer to as 'man in the middle' (MITM) hacking. The targeted ATMs belong to the same private bank. The software in the machines was not upgraded, investigating officers said.
Two of the hackers, who are suspected to be part of a gang that carried out a similar operation in Faridabad of the Delhi/NCR region two months ago, were caught on a security camera installed near the hacked ATMs in Kolkata.
“We are in touch with the Faridabad police,” said Murlidhar Sharma, joint commissioner of police (crime). “Account holders have not lost anything. The loss was incurred by the company which loads money in these machines,” Sharma added.
Kolkata Police started the probe when the bank lodged complaints saying three ATM were hacked between May 14 and 22 and ₹39.6 lakh were stolen in several instalments.
While investigating the case, police found that none of the machines located in the New Market, Jadavpur and Cossipore police station areas was forcibly broken. The probe showed that more machines located in Beniapukur, Behala, Phoolbagan and Bowbazar were also hacked during the same period and the quantum of money stolen stood at around ₹2 crore.
The hackers, apparently, took around 15 minutes to hack into the system in each ATM. They made the machines dispense cash by connecting to the bank’s server using a device that was is said to be attached to cables in the ATM, said Sharma.