Two 14 year old Canadian students managed to successfully hack an Bank of Montreal (BMO) ATM during their lunch hour, changed the units greeting to “Go away. This ATM has been hacked,” and printed out data on recent transactions, surcharges, and cash available in the machine as proof of their exploit.
The students gained access to the ATM using an old operators manual they located online that instructed how to utilize the operators mode and then entered a default password which had never been changed, a common mistake that leaves many systems vulnerable to unauthorized access.
“We thought it would be fun to try it, but we were not expecting it to work,” one of the students said. “When it did, it asked for a password.”
Having successfully penetrated the unit, the students immediately informed officials at BMO, who discounted the students’ tale, and asked them to provide some sort of documentation to prove their story.
“So we both went back to the ATM and I got into the operator mode again. Then I started printing off documentation like how much money is currently in the machine, how many withdrawals have happened that day, how much it’s made off surcharges,” the student said. “Then I found a way to change the surcharge amount, so I changed the surcharge amount to one cent.”
This time the bank officials believed them, but the kids’ main concern at this point was not about possible legal implications, but that they were now late for class, so they asked the BMO officials if they would be kind enough to write a note on their behalf.
“Please excuse Mr. Caleb Turon and Matthew Hewlett for being late during their lunch hour due to assisting BMO with security,” the note said.
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