Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Federal investigators are warning U.S. banks about a sophisticated global fraud scheme involving automated teller machines it says cyber-criminals are planning.
During what it calls an "ATM cash-out," the FBI said thieves can hack a bank or payment card processor and use cloned cards at ATMs worldwide to withdraw millions in just a few hours.
The FBI warning, sent to banks last week, was first reported by cybersecurity blog Krebs On Security.
The bureau warned the attacks were expected "in the coming days." It also said hackers plan to use malware to access bank customer information, exploit network access and allow large-scale ATM theft.
"Historic compromises have included small-to-medium size financial institutions, likely due to less robust implementation of cybersecurity controls, budgets, or third-party vendor vulnerabilities," the alert said. "The FBI expects the ubiquity of this activity to continue or possibly increase in the near future."
Experts say the thieves send data to co-conspirators, who imprint the information on reusable magnetic strip cards. Then at a predetermined time, they could withdraw the money.
The FBI said hackers could also change account balances, making an unlimited cash pot from which they can draw.
Officials said the FBI routinely advises the private industry of various cyber threats.
"This data is provided in order to help systems administrators guard against the actions of persistent cyber-criminals," an FBI spokeswoman said.
The Krebs report said a similar attack netted nearly $2.5 million from a Virginia bank in 2016 and 2017.