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New ATM Malware ‘FiXS’ Emerges

Metabase Q documents FiXS, a new malware family targeting ATMs in Latin America.

Cybersecurity company Metabase Q has documented a new malware family targeting ATMs in Latin America.

Dubbed FiXS and containing Russian metadata, the threat is currently targeting banks in Mexico, but was found to be vendor-agnostic, working on any ATM that supports CEN XFS.

Just as the infamous Ploutus ATM malware, FiXS requires the use of an external keyboard, suggesting that it is being deployed by cybercriminals through physical access to ATMs.

According to Metabase Q, which provides cybersecurity solutions and services to organizations in Latin America, FiXS hides within a seemingly innocuous program, instructs the infected machine to dispense money 30 minutes after the last reboot, and waits for the cassettes to be loaded before dispensing.

The malware is deployed embedded in a dropper that decodes the malware with XOR instruction and stores it in the system’s temporary directory. FiXS is then executed via the ShellExecute Windows API.

Implemented with the CEN XFS APIs, the malware can run on every Windows-based ATM, with few modifications.

FiXS runs in an infinite loop to identify the right keyboard input to show a window, display cash unit information, close the session and kill the process, or dispense money.

Unlike Ploutus or other sophisticated ATM malware, the threat does not have a rich interface and can only display the numbers of bills in each cassette, in the recycle bin, and in the rejected bin.

Because the malware instructs the ATM to dispense money 30 minutes after the last reboot, Metabase Q believes that the cash is retrieved by mules shortly after the malware’s installation.

“Given the importance of ATMs in the financial system chain for cash-based economies, malware attacks are far from over. It is critical for banks and financial institutions to assume potential compromises of devices and focus on reducing the Time to Detect and Response to these types of threats,” Metabase Q notes.

Related: Diebold Nixdorf ATM Flaws Allowed Attackers to Modify Firmware, Steal Cash

Related: FBI: Scams Involving Cryptocurrency ATMs and QR Codes on the Rise

Related: Driver Vulnerabilities Facilitate Attacks on ATMs, PoS Systems

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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