A Chinese gang in Pakistan specializes in ATM Skimmer attacks

Pierluigi Paganini July 03, 2016

The Federal Investigation Agency in Pakistan is investigating a Chinese organization that is specialized in attacking ATM machines by using skimmer devices.

A few days ago I reported the story of the security expert Benjamin Tedesco that has spotted an ATM skimmer during his vacation in Vienna. The ATM skimmer was quite impossible to detect to common people and unfortunately this kind of crimes is becoming frequent.

Security experts are observing an increase in the number of ATM related crimes especially in some countries where banks lack proper countermeasures.

Malware-based attacks, skimming, and ATM black box attacks are even more popular in the criminal underground.

Sometimes the attacks are recorded on CCTV cameras used by banks, it happened a few days ago in Karachi, Pakistanwhere CCTV cameras recorded two Chinese nationals installing skimmer device in one of the bank’s ATM.

The crooks replaced the original ATM pin pad with one of their own, the cyber crime unit of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating the case.

According to the ARY News channel, the two Chinese criminals belong to an international organization that specializes in the thefts of payment card data from ATMs.


The gang operates in Pakistan and steals payment card data to clone them and steal millions from different banks. The stolen data were also used for sending money to accomplices outside Pakistan.


Cyber criminals seem to be very active in Pakistan, early 2015 a group of hackers stole money from Standard Chartered Bank Accounts by hacking the ATMs of the organization in Pakistan.

Pakistan customers of the Standard Chartered Bank received transaction alerts via email and SMS that alerted them about alleged withdrawals of Rs.50, 000 ($500) cash from their bank accounts.

The problem is that hackers stole money from their banking account without any action on their part. Some of the customers didn’t even receive any notification but discovered the theft only when they tried to get money from ATM of their banks and the machines refused to release the cash because the debit cards were blocked.

The interesting aspect of the case is that hackers compromised the ATMs operating from the UK and involving local mules for cash out operations.

In some cases, ATMs represent an easy target for criminals belonging to an international criminal organization. Recently crooks stole in Japan $13 million from 1,400 ATMs in the country. The gang made it a couple of hours by using leaked payment card data to clone customers’ cards.

[adrotate banner=”9″]

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – ATM, Skimmer)

you might also like

leave a comment