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What is ATM Machine Hacking And How To Stay Safe

Hundreds of ATM machine hacking cases across Pakistan have surfacing as of late. A total of approximately Rs. 100 million has been calculated to have been lost due to this fraud.

What is ATM Machine Hacking?

ATM hacking is, in truth, ATM skimming i.e. duplicating your Debit card. There have been cases in the past too, however, those were few and far in between in comparison to now. Recently, Pakistan seems to be getting plagued by an overflow of ATM machine hacking cases.

The ATM hacking itself takes place in two steps – Copying your ATM card and stealing your ATM PIN as well.


Your card is copied through a detachable card copiers attached to the slot you insert your card into. As you insert your card, the copier copies all the details on your card. The hacker then uses this data to create a duplicate and will usually use that duplicate to withdraw money from your account from a different country in order to make tracking it a little more difficult. They can even use online banking from your card if it is activated for it.

To ensure such a thing doesn’t happen to you, firmly shake or wiggle the opening of the card slot to check if any detachable parts are present. If anything comes off from the slot, that was a copier attached and you’ve just saved yourself from being robbed.


Your ATM PIN however is also necessary for hackers to access your account. They manage to steal that either by using a camera or a keylogger. Watch out for either a small hole on the panel directly above the keypad or a detachable keypad as show.

How To Thwart An ATM Hacking Attempt

When it comes to what the account holder can do personally:

  • Watch out for a detachable devices on the card slot or keypad.
  • Watch out for any holes or cameras with the keypad in view. Keep the keypad covered always either way when entering your PIN.
  • If the ATM offers it, opt for biometric verification instead of your PIN.
  • Be on guard when using ATM machines that are not placed alongside the bank itself.
  • To really go the extra mile, keep an extra account with nearly no money it and transfer your money to only this account when withdrawing.

Banks can also take measures against this by:

  • Begin offering biometric verification on all ATM machines.
  • Regularly and thoroughly check ATM machines.
  • Maintain 24/7 surveillance on ATM machines to alert about any suspicious activities.
  • Spread awareness about ATM machine hacking and how to stay safe.
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