Belarusian nationals arrested over ATM black-box attacks

Polish police officers have arrested this week two Belarusian nationals for stealing cash from ATMs using a technique known as a black-box attack.

The two men, a 26 and 29-year-old, were detained in a parking lot in the city of Bydgoszcz, in central Poland.

In a BMW x5 car used by the two suspects, police officers found tools and drills used in their attacks, telephones, laptops, and cash stolen from the destroyed ATMs.


ATM black-box attacks is when cybercriminals drill holes in an ATM's case in order to connect to its internal components and plant malware or issue legitimate software commands to make the ATM dispense cash on command.

Polish police said the group was operating by drilling holes inside ATMs and then connecting a laptop the suspects also had in their car in order to command the ATM.

The Bydgoszcz police department said they suspect the group orchestrated at least 13 black-box attacks in the region, although they said the group didn't manage to steal money in all attacks.

In an accompanying press release today by Europol, EU officials said the two suspects had also carried out black-box attacks in at least seven other European countries, from where they are believed to have stolen an estimated €230,000 ($275,000) in cash.

Polish prosecutors are now investigating possible links between the two Belarusian nationals and another gang of ATM robbers arrested in Warsaw earlier this year.

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Catalin Cimpanu

Catalin Cimpanu

is a cybersecurity reporter who previously worked at ZDNet and Bleeping Computer, where he became a well-known name in the industry for his constant scoops on new vulnerabilities, cyberattacks, and law enforcement actions against hackers.