Feeds

The Hack in the Box ATM talk that never was...

No vendor threats, 'cos no talk, says researcher

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

A banking security researcher has stepped forward to deny reports that vendor threats forced him to cancel a presentation on ATM security at the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam earlier this month.

Many outlets, including El Reg, reported that a presentation on the vulnerabilities and security shortcomings that cyber criminals were using to break into ATMs was cancelled at the last minute due to legal threats against ethical hacker Raoul Chiesa.

Chiesa issued a statement on Monday explaining that the much-trailed talk on Third Generation ATM Frauds didn't happen because he and his firm Mediaservice.net decided 18 months ago to only disclose vulnerabilities that have emerged to "closed sector-specific" associations and not at public events. Secondly, Chiesa had other commitments at home in Rome on July 2, the date he was due to appear at Hack in the Box.

"No manufacturer or systems integrator of ATM, nor banking or financial institution, have ever threatened Chiesa or the company Mediaservice.net," the statement explained.

Chiesa's research team has already presented part of this research in European Union security agency ENISA's report ATM Crime: Overview of the European situation and golden rules on how to avoid it last September, and in greater depth at a closed-door conference of ABI, an Italian banking trade group, around the same time.

The Mediaservice.net team remains committed to responsible disclosure despite what it describes as "insufficient measures" in mitigating vulnerabilities by the banking industry. Without going into details, the team cited the tampering of software in Ukrainian bank ATMs by organised crime as among the new generation of threat the industry faces.

"Everything has been a big misunderstanding with HITB [Hack in the Box] staff," Chiesa told El Reg.

"My original presentation, planned to be given at HITB EU on July 2nd 2010, was on the "Underground Economy". It is a presentation I've already given (CONfidence 2010, Troopers 2009, nullcon India 2010) and does not have anything to do with ATMs.

"A couple of weeks before HITB EU, I was speaking internally at my company, if going for Full Disclosure or not, given the critical topic we were working on. I told to Dhillon from HITB EU - we're discussing this internally, I'd love to go for Full Disclosure. If we ever decided this, I'd love to give the talk at HITB, since the delegates are serious and the speaker's level is quite high."

Although the supposed legal threats against Chiesa have been denied, other security researchers have not been so lucky. For example, a presentation on ATM security by Barnaby Jack was pulled from last year's Black Hat, only to be reinstated for this month's show.

Jack has moved from Juniper Networks to IOActive Labs over the last 12 months, a job change that has allowed him to explain how ATM machines might be fooled into dispensing more cash than recorded during a transaction at this year's Black Hat USA.

The "Jackpotting" presentation, which Jack himself compares to the cash machines hack run by John Connor in Terminator 2, is likely to be one of the highlights of this year's conference. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.