Researchers at the cybersecurity company Proofpoint discovered a new form of malware that infects automated teller machines (ATMs) and allows hackers to control the dispensing of money, according to Computerworld. The malware program, called GreenDispenser, was first discovered in Mexico, although experts say it's only a matter of time before similar malware makes its way to other countries, including the U.S.
When used, the program displays an "Out of Service" message before self-destructing, eliminating as much evidence from the machine as possible, according to the International Business Times.
"ATM malware such as GreenDispenser is particularly alarming because it allows cybercriminals to attack financial institutions directly, without the extra steps required to capture credit and debit card information from consumers — and with correspondingly less traceability," said Kevin Epstein, vice president of Threat Operations for Proofpoint.
Other ATM malware programs have been detected in the past — in 2013, security company Symantec warned about Ploutus, a form of ATM malware that infected ATMs through the use of a boot disk.
ATMs typically don't have access to the worldwide web, which leads experts to believe hackers must have had physical access to them in order to infect them with the malware, according to the Inquirer.
"We believe we are seeing the dawn of a new criminal industry targeting ATMs with only more to come," said researchers from Proofpoint. "In order to stay ahead of attackers, financial entities should re-examine existing legacy security layers and consider deploying modern security measures to thwart these threats."