Black Box Attack

What Does Black Box Attack Mean?

A black box attack is a specific type of criminal “hack” on ATMs that compels the ATM unit to disperse cash in an illegitimate way. Criminals use ATM black box attacks to drain cash out of ATM systems.


A black box attack is also known as a black box ATM attack or an ATM black box attack.

Techopedia Explains Black Box Attack

In a black box ATM attack, a criminal first drills into the shell of the ATM. Then he or she attaches a hardware piece to the cash dispersal apparatus to prompt the machine to release cash. It is important to note that unlike other kinds of brute force attacks, attackers in a black box attack are not drilling into the actual cash vault of the machine. They are using the hacking equipment to trigger the cash release instead.

Black box ATM attacks are becoming a problem in England and may become more common in the United States as hackers develop the technology. The term itself is confusing because the term “black box” usually refers to inscrutable technologies. Here, it refers to the use of the ATM as a “black box” and its reprogramming which may not involve actual coding on the part of the attackers.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…