Russians wanted in $2 million ATM malware heist

Police in Taipei, Taiwan, are investigating two Russian citizens after more than 2 million dollars was stolen from automated teller machines belonging to Taiwanese First Commercial Bank. Some 300 ATMs nationwide have been suspended out of a total of 768. The ATMs were purchased from German company Wincor Nixdorf.

This is the first registered attack of its type in Taiwan, but not an isolated case in Asia, as attacks on ATMs and hacking theft have grown in popularity. Officials believe three different types of malware programs had infected the machines and a cellphone may have been used to trick them into releasing the bills.

“So far we think it could have been done remotely, such as via a cellphone, laptop or hacked First Bank staff PC,” said Lin Cheng-hsien, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau. “After testing the malware, we confirmed hacked ATMs will dispense cash immediately according to the malware.”

Confirming knowledge about a potential attack on its ATMs in Taiwan, a Wincor Nixdorf official told Reuters by email that “attacks follow a similar pattern, irrespective of their make or brand, and we as well as the banks are aware of them.”

First Bank customers have been assured that their deposits will not be affected. Future operations and transactions are to be thoroughly monitored. Precautionary measures have also been taken as cash withdrawals are now suspended on ATMs that belong to First Bank, Chang Hwa Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank and Chunghwa Post Co.

About the author


From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.