27 hackers caught using laptops to swipe ATM cash; Two in NL

Hackers or Keyboard users
(photo:José Goulão/Flickr). (photo:José Goulão/Flickr)

Europol's European Cybercrime Center arrested a total of 27 people suspected of using laptops to instruct ATMs to dispense money, the European policing agency announced in a statement. Two of the suspects are from the Netherlands. Others come from the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Romania, Spain and Norway.

The arrests were made in 2016 and 2017, with the latest one happening in Spain last month. Europol, working with a total of 20 countries, launched an investigation into this so-called ATM Black Box phenomenon when it first started appearing in Western Europe in 2015. 

According to Europol, criminals drill or melt holes in an ATM in order to connect an "unauthorized devise"- usually a laptop - directly to the ATM. They then perform a logical attack in which dispense commands are sent directly to the ATM cash dispenser. "The device can send relay commands that cause the ATM to dispense all cash. Therefore losses can be significant and counted in the hundreds of thousands of euros."

The investigation is still ongoing and more arrests are expected in the near future.