Jackpotting is an illegal method of using software to withdraw cash from automated teller machines (ATMs) and other automated cash dispensers. The term was coined by a hacker by the name of Jack Barnaby, who demonstrated cash withdrawal via jackpotting at the Black Hat Security Conference in 2010. After a successful hack and subsequent cash dispensation, the word “Jackpot!” appeared on the ATM’s screen.

In one type of jackpotting, a program is loaded onto the ATM via a USB storage device. In this process, it is necessary to “open” the ATM in advance. If the malware works effectively, the ATM will dispense free banknotes.

The second variation of jackpotting is accomplished via a remote attack on an ATM. In order to access an ATM, the hacker must know its IP address or dial-up number. Once a device has been compromised, hackers can access cash by, for example, entering a specific set of digits on the ATMs keypad.

Attacks like these occasionally take place in European countries. In Switzerland, no instances of jackpotting have, as yet, been announced.

Unlike card skimming, jackpotting generally does not affect consumers.

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Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of moneyland.ch and an independent expert on banking and finance.