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Googling for ATM Master Passwords 356

default DOLLAR writes to mention an eWeek article following up on the ATM reprogramming scam pulled in Virginia Beach last week. A security researcher in New York has used a YouTube video, a few Google searches, and other legal methods to discover the master passwords to thousands of ATMs across the country. From the article: "Dave Goldsmith, founder and president of penetration testing outfit Matasano Security, in New York, did not say how he obtained the operator manual--which contains master passwords and other sensitive security information about the cash-dispensing machines--but an eWEEK investigation shows that a simple Google query will return a 102-page PDF file that provides a road map to the hack."
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Googling for ATM Master Passwords

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  • Giddy-up! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Logiksan ( 947439 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:33PM (#16156056)
    *runs off to Google and YouTube as fast as his little fingers will take him*
  • "123420"

    (Man, I am so going to Gitmo if my joke turns out to be right.)

  • by rblum ( 211213 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:36PM (#16156084)


    Oh wait. That's my ATM PIN.
  • to that 105 page pdf file, please.
  • Casino (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:37PM (#16156103) Homepage Journal
    I recently did IT for the largest casino company on the planet. I was dual-property and responsible for two casinos. The master code that would open the keyboxes and get you keys to anywhere in the casino was 654321. And people told each other all their passwords and such all the time.

    I couldn't believe it.
    • And people told each other all their passwords and such all the time.

      That is the nice thing about working at Chevron. We use smartbadges (+pin#) to log into our computers. The worst a user could do is give away their pin#. They usually don't give away their badges since those are used to access the floors too.

      Now if I could just get the users to lock their workstations. Even if they computer is set to lock when their badges are removed, I find computers unlocked with badges in the computer and with the
      • Supervisors would demand to know all of their employees passwords, people write their passwords at their desk, and the first thing anyone would tell me when they had a problem, was all their passwords.

        The IT Manager (a real twit) had all her passwords written at her desk, and she had full access to everything.
      • Key Badges (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BobBoring ( 18422 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @04:27PM (#16156568) Homepage
        Use to be we'd just wander through the cubage and when we had collected two or three "abandoned" cards from machines, we'd copy the faces of the cards. Then we'd give them to department supervisors for security violation write ups. We'd keep the copy to make sure the supervisors write them up. We suspended the accounts after two violations. If the offenders didn't have a Letter of Counciling on file in 10 working days, we had to write up the supervisors and suspend their accounts until their up-chain managers filed the right paper work to re-enable the account.

        After a couple of years of irregularly spaced walk throughs of the cube farm and countless email 'reminders' about computer security we gave that up.

        We got tire of being called the 'net nazis' and worse.

        Now we just take the badge out of the machine and walk it down to the security desk and tell them we found the on the floor in the bathroom. If we feel bitchy we trash the card or shred them then the 'somebody else problem' effect kicks in.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) *
      I recently did IT for the largest casino company on the planet. I was dual-property and responsible for two casinos. The master code that would open the keyboxes and get you keys to anywhere in the casino was 654321. And people told each other all their passwords and such all the time.

      In that environment, they probably could have kept the lids to the keyboxes open and illuminated with flashing neon signs. Anyone foolish enough to try to pull off some sort of heist, with all those cameras and undercover sec
    • Re:Casino (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:57PM (#16156296) Homepage Journal
      That's a perfect illustration of how technological devices are only a small part of security. Having solid policies that are actually followed means every bit as much, if not more. From TFA:

      "This isn't a vulnerability," Goldsmith explained. "It's someone exploiting a policy weakness, where ATM owners install these things and never change the default password."

      All that's in the PDF is the default password, following a warning in BIG BOLD TYPE saying that you need to change the default password before deploying the machine. Would they put in a new combination lock on their vault and leave a combo of 1-2-3? I should hope not...
      • Yep, I couldn't agree more. And people who leave the default password likely aren't going to change their ways until they get robbed once.
        • And people who leave the default password likely aren't going to change their ways until they get robbed once.

          You give people too much credit, I'd say twice.
      • Re:Casino (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Thursday September 21, 2006 @04:33PM (#16156604) Journal
        But what really confuses me is WHY is there access ability from the user keypad. I mean geez. There is a back panel on all ATMS that has a keylock for adding cash and programming the machine. Putting the ability to do ANYTHING but normal user functions from the front keypad just smacks of stupidity.
      • Reminds me of the drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket when he discovers that Private Pyle's footlocker is unlocked:

        "If it wasn't for dickheads like you, there wouldn't be any thievery in this world, would there?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by thewils ( 463314 )
      I'm sure big Tony will be along shortly to remove your kneecaps...
      • But our government insists that organized crime doesn't exist, while at the same time having a division to track organized crime! I'm so confused!
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Some_Llama ( 763766 )
          "But our government insists that organized crime doesn't exist, while at the same time having a division to track organized crime! I'm so confused!"

          Well it is BECAUSE they have a division to track organized crime that it doesn't exist, just like how since there is a war on drugs, drug use is virtually non-existant anymore...

          Remember when you could go to a concert and see people smoking pot? Or you could find it in high schools, or any night club? Now it's almost impossible to find and if you did (besides be
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      The master code that would open the keyboxes and get you keys to anywhere in the casino was 654321. And people told each other all their passwords and such all the time.

      And that is how it all happened. []

  • Aha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by The Grey Clone ( 770110 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:37PM (#16156104) Homepage
    We've finally found that mysterious step 2!
  • We live in the Age of Information. Almost anyone can't post almost anything and make it available to just about everyone (how's that for ambiguos). This is great power. And with great power come great repsonsability (bet you didn'see that coming).

    I think the problem may lie in he fact that too many companies don't teach their employees the difference between the internet and their intranet.
    Free iPods? Its legit []. 5 of my friends got theirs. Get yours here! []
  • by queenb**ch ( 446380 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:38PM (#16156114) Homepage Journal

    That's to all of you who made fun of us geeks!

    *Rude Hand Gesture*

    That's for every bully who ever shoved someone into a locker during PE.

    Due to our superior ability to manipulate poorly secured cash dispensing devices, we shall now rule the world!

    First the treasury...then the military. World domination cannot be far behind.

    2 cents,

  • by Mr.Scamp ( 974300 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:39PM (#16156128)
    The machine gave $20's for $5's for NINE days after it was reprogrammed before someone commented on it. God Bless America.
    • "The machine gave $20's for $5's for NINE days after it was reprogrammed before someone commented on it. God Bless America."

      Just curious...what would you do? If an ATM gave me $100 instead of $10, I'd take it....if they caught the error and had proof of it, I'd give it back, but, until then, it is their problem, not mine.

      Do you give back money when the teller gives you too much?

  • Google query (Score:3, Insightful)

    by szembek ( 948327 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:40PM (#16156134) Homepage
    So what was his "simple Google query"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Talondel ( 693866 )
      I don't know what his was, but the one I used was:

      atm operator manual

      It returned a fair number of, well, ATM Operator Manuals in .pdf format. Most seemed to include the default master operator password. Took me about 3 minutes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MDMurphy ( 208495 )
      This will work:

      Tranax Mini-Bank "Transaction Setup" .ca

      All from the article, they even put the quotes around "transation setup" for you. Didn't see .ca but did mention it was a Canadian reseller.
  • If Mel Brooks is going to make a Spaceballs cartoon, why stick it where it will be never seen, with the 100-mpg engine and the ark of the covenant?
  • WOW (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:41PM (#16156153) Journal
    Wow that is cool, it was a quick search and I found it!

    It says that to enter the management screen you hold the key and press one. Then the default UID is 00 and the default password is 12345 so you should enter 0012345 into the prompt.

    I am off to the ATM down stairs. I could use a little extra cash.
    • I am off to the ATM down stairs. I could use a little extra cash.

      Make sure you smile for the camera :-)

      • No need, A little tape and some paper. Approach from the side and slap it on.
      • Ive never seen those private atms with a camera pointed at them. Perhaps the store or bar has a camera, but if they are the ones I always see that charge you 1.25 per transaction, they dont. The ones with cameras are the ones in the bank.

        Still I don't know If I will personally try this hack as yes, its pretty damned illegal. All those times those machines charged me a 1.25 convience fee however... hmm. Paybacks a bitch.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anon-Admin ( 443764 )

          Heck the ones around here charge $2.25 and then your bank adds another $1.75 for the transaction.

          If the ATM is in a remote location or a special event the ATM charge goes up. The last gun show I went to, the ATM was charging $9.56 per transaction. If I could have left and came back with out having to pay the $15 door fee I would have gotten the money from some where else.
          • by MooUK ( 905450 )
            In the UK, in my experience, ALL ATMs owned by a bank do not charge you, and I don't know any bank which charges you either. There are ATMs that are operated by other entities for profit, which tend to have a charge. I avoid those for obvious reasons.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by davidmcn ( 606752 )
      You know, I assumed that you were joking about the password, I was thinking there is no way the default password could be 0012345....then low and behold, right there in the doc, there it is....
  • the google query (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Search for: atm operator manual filetype:pdf
  • "Gawd, Idiots!" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by patrixmyth ( 167599 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:45PM (#16156182)
    Here I was thinking that the problems with voting machines had to be intentional, since ATM's were so much better secured. Now that I find out that a keystroke combination on the interface of an ATM will bring up a GUI to reprogram the machine, protected only by a default password, I can rest assured that the world is not as shrouded in conspiracy as I feared. It's just full of very very very (very very very very very) stupid people. Now, watch as one of these aforementioned idiots elected to public office blames this on Google.
    • Is that voting and ATM machines have very different security requirements. An ATM needs only be secure against people breaking in to it. So presuming the bank isn't stupid enough to leave the password as default, it accomplishes that pretty well. It doesn't need to be secure from the bank. The bank can lie to the ATM machine or tamper with its data if they want, it's just not in their interest. However voting machines are different. Here the data needs to be secure against tampering from everyone, including
  • by martonlorand ( 938109 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:45PM (#16156183) Homepage
    Even basic Cash registers require a key to be plugged in turned to to step into manager or some other mode. Why wouldnt those ATM-s require that the case would be open and a key sticked in to go in programming mode... Can you do a memory owerflow hack into the software ower the keyboard? >Othervise I dont understand how could you get the machine out of normal state and put it in programming mode. If it is build in the software - dude - fire the security and software development team... Thats just crazy to have a possibility like that without some harware security check...
    • by King_TJ ( 85913 )
      Effectively, I think many do. The article said some machines require access to switches found behind the front panel of the machine - which you're not going to be able to get at without unlocking it first.

  • .... is the screams of "you can find anything on the Internet, therefore the Internet is evil" from those who are looking for any excuse to clamp down on what's on the net (or Jack Thompson).
  • Are the ATM's made by Diebold by any chance?
    • Re:Has to be said (Score:4, Informative)

      by szembek ( 948327 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:53PM (#16156255) Homepage
      No but this one is: P-820327-001/tp-820327-001-1.htm [] that one is. Diebold actually makes really good atms in my opinion. At least as far as the end user interface is considered. The ones my bank uses have a lot of nice features: - can dispense change to the penny - can scan/cash/deposit checks - doesn't make you hit OK after you put in your pin (aren't they all 4 chars long?) - doesn't keep your card until the end of the transaction so you forget it
      • Curious that your machines dispense change. After reading TFA, I wondered, 'what kind of ATM dipenses 5 dollar bills'? The only ones I remember using dispense nothing smaller than 10's.

        I mean, I can just picture Joe Sixpack wandering up and hitting the authorization to charge him $1 or $2 just to take out 5 bucks. Then again, I was at a strip club once before I was married and they charged like $7 for ATM withdrawals. Since you'd already paid the cover charge and burned all your beer money on lap dance
  • by nblender ( 741424 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:52PM (#16156244)
    For this one you have to carefully RTFA. You actually have to do it. Not just pretend. A simple google search, plus some whois sleuthing to confirm you have the right one, will turn up a company that currently has it's "support.html" disabled (404), but the wayback machine has an old (2005) copy of "support.htm" which has a list of error codes, FAQ, etc, for the machine in question. It's not too much of a stretch to believe that someone put the manual up for download at some point.

    No, I don't have the manual. I don't really care either, it was an interesting academic exercise.

  • is "Where Money Comes From."
  • by vinn01 ( 178295 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:58PM (#16156310)
    Who here thinks that putting the default master password in the manual is a good idea?

    This reminds me the of backdoor password that Nortel had for one of its more common PBX's. At least they didn't put it the manual. But it got passed around enough to land on Usenet (in reponse to a problem that a customer was having). In that case, it was worse. It was not a "default" password, it was hardcoded.

    Another day, another brain dead corporate password mistake....

    • Where else would you put it? You have basically two choices. 1) no default password or 2) a default password.
      • by vinn01 ( 178295 )
        Bingo! I think you hit the correct answer - no defult password.

        How my computer systems have a default password? None that are secure. You have to set the root password yourself as part of the install.
    • by shawnce ( 146129 )
      If the default password exists why shouldn't it be in the manual? If it exists bad folks will know about it one way or another eventually. It is better to have it clearly documented and ideally in your face when you do first setup. ...having a default password isn't the problem, it not changing the default password...
  • by GenTaco ( 908306 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @03:58PM (#16156316)
    Honestly people, it isn't too hard to find this manual, the article gives you all the info you need. And no, the manual has not been pulled down from the site...yet.

    Try the following search terms:

    Tranax 1500 Manual inurl:pdf (and then check the 6th result)
  • Forget ATMs; the way people post personal information about themselves so freely on the Internet, combined with the average user's lack of imagination, means that I can probably go to any social netwroking site, get a user's site id and some basic information about them (birthday, fav color, dog's name, etc.) and with a little luck, find that they use that information as usernames/passwords for on-line banking, Amazon, etc.

    When it comes to the security of information, avergae people are stupid.

  • by Ken Hall ( 40554 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @04:14PM (#16156459)
    Back in the early 80's I worked for a company that did third-party service for all sorts of computer-related stuff. We serviced at least two different lines of ATM machines, for competing companies. We had test machines in our training center for the service guys to play with.

    Hardware wise, they were the most complicated, Rube-Goldberg-esque contraptions you can imagine. The card readers and bill handlers were the worst. The bill handlers had to be calibrated using real money, so the repair center kept several hundred dollars in cash locked in a safe at all times, and replaced it weekly (the handlers didn't like old bills).

    The group I was in was responsible for tracking the software problem reports that came in from the field, and forwarding them to the manufacturers. While I found some of the bugs downright hysterical, or just plain bizarre, others were scary enough to make you consider avoiding the machines alltogether.

    Doesn't look like they've learned anything in 20 years.
  • all your cash are belong to us
  • I bet if AG Gonzales had his way, the feds would have been able to intercept the hack searches and nab the bastard researcher before he revealed the secrets to the world. What a boon for security that would be! /sarcasm
  • Collect $200. Pass Go!
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday September 21, 2006 @04:49PM (#16156726) Homepage
    Back in Feb 2005, the ATM Industry Association released a memo or press announcement, found here: ud%20Alert1.pdf#search=%22atm%20master%20password% 22 []

    It specifically warned the industry that their passwords were getting out and to tell the banks to CHANGE them.

    Frankly, I have zero sympathy for the bank that lost cash.

    And not much respect for the idiots that did not report it. What, did they think the banks would never find out what happened? That when they did find out, they would not 'correct' the accounts?

    Either report it, or get yourself an untraceable card and return.

  • by gewalker ( 57809 ) <Gary.Walker@Ast r a D i g i t a l .com> on Thursday September 21, 2006 @05:28PM (#16157051)
    Finally, "News I Can Use"

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll