Malicious software causes an ATM to “spit out” cash.
Cybersecurity company Metabase Q has discovered a new strain of malware called FiXS that targets Windows-based ATMs. The strain was discovered in Mexican banks in early February 2023.
FiXS is controlled via an external keyboard and can infect any ATM that supports the CEN/XFS (eXtensions for Financial Services) standard. The exact method of compromise remains unknown, but experts suggest that attackers interact with the ATM through an external keyboard.
FiXS is also reported to be similar to another strain of ATM malware called Ploutus, which allows cybercriminals to extract cash from ATMs using an external keyboard or by sending an SMS message.
The sample parsed by Metabase Q is delivered via the Neshta dropper application (conhost.exe), written in Delphi and first discovered in 2003.
One notable feature of FiXS is its ability to dispense money 30 minutes after the last ATM reboot using the Windows GetTickCount API. To get money from an ATM, money mules are used to pick it up and deliver it to the criminals.
It is worth noting that FiXS is not the only malware targeting peripheral devices for financial transactions. In September 2022, Kaspersky Lab analysts discovered 3 new versions of Prilex malware targeting PoS terminals.
Prilex appeared in 2014 and first attacked ATMs, and in 2016 moved PoS devices (Point-of-Sale). Development and distribution peaked in 2020, but the malware disappeared in 2021. However, according to experts, during this time, Prilex operators have developed a more sophisticated and destructive version of the malware.