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Teenagers hack ATM by reading the instructions

Not punished, but late back from lunch
Tue Jun 10 2014, 12:49
Getting euros from a cash machine

TWO 14 YEAR OLD boys 'hacked' into their local bank's cash machine by bothering to read the instructions.

While most hacking attacks seem to involve gangs of shadowy renegades in hidden dens, the teens - Matthew Hewlett and Caleb Turon from Winnipeg, Canada - realised that, like most electronic devices, there was likely to be a manual for the ATM available online.

The Bank of Montreal ATM in the pair's local grocery store displayed a model number and, after downloading the appropriate manual, they hacked it with a combination of Occam's Razor and staff stupidity.

The machine had not been changed from its default passcode, allowing the boys to follow the instructions to the letter into the supervisor mode.

Having beaten the system, the boys decided not to steal any money, but rather change the welcome message to customers to "Go Away. This machine has been hacked." At this point they went into their local bank branch to report the discovery to rather bemused staff.

Having convinced the bank to follow up on the hack after providing supervisor printout receipts they had obtained, the two realised that they were late back to school after lunch.

Their honesty was rewarded by the bank manager, who wrote a note to their teacher on bank letterhead saying that the two had been "helping BMO with its security".

The story comes less than a year after the death of security expert and hacker Barnaby Jack, who demonstrated his own hacking technique on ATM's in 2010. Despite their vulnerabilities, ATM's are the salvation of diehard Windows XP users who, it seems, can re-enable updates for the operating system by telling their PCs that they are ATMs. µ


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