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Massachusetts Man Pleads Guilty to ATM Hacking

A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty to his role in an ATM “jackpotting” operation, the United States Department of Justice announced this week.

A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty to his role in an ATM “jackpotting” operation, the United States Department of Justice announced this week.

ATM jackpotting is a type of attack where individuals who have physical access to an automated teller machine connect to it and then use malware or specialized electronic equipment (or both) to gain control of the system’s operations.

Long observed in Europe and Asia, ATM jackpotting only arrived in the United States in late 2017. In January 2018, the US Secret Service issued a warning to alert law enforcement and financial institutions on jackpotting attacks. Incidents were observed in Connecticut and elsewhere.

In early February, the DoJ announced that Alberto Fajin-Diaz, 31, a citizen of Spain, and Argenys Rodriguez, 21, of Springfield, Massachusetts, were charged over ATM jackpotting after being arrested on January 27 after being found near an ATM compromised with jackpotting malware to dispense $20 bills.

On Monday, John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Rodriguez pleaded guilty to his role in the ATM jackpotting scheme.

After being alerted by Citizens Bank investigators of a possible jackpotting attack on an ATM in Cromwell, the police encountered Rodriguez and Fajin-Diaz in the vicinity of an “ATM that had been compromised with malware and was in the process of dispensing $20 bills,” the DoJ says.

In the duo’s vehicle, the police found tools and electronic devices that could be used to compromise ATMs to dispense cash. The two men also had around $5,600 in cash, yet the investigation revealed that over $63,000 had been taken from the ATM on that date.

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The investigators later discovered that, on January 22, 2018, Rodriguez, Fajin-Diaz and others illegally obtained $63,820 from a Citizens Bank ATM in Rhode Island.

Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced on September 26, 2018. He faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years. Fajin-Diaz pleaded guilty to his role in the ARM jackpotting attacks on June 12, 2018, and awaits sentencing.

Related: Duo Charged Over ATM “Jackpotting” Attacks

< span>Related: ATM Jackpotting Attacks Strike in U.S. 

Related: New Strain of ATM Jackpotting Malware Discovered

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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