Two Russian nationals spent two days in Taiwan stealing money from automatic teller machines belonging to First National Bank. They fled the country after stealing a total of $NT 70 million (about US$2.2 million).
Their lucrative tour came to an end after they were seen by a member of the public while robbing an ATM at Guting in Taipei City. The men hurriedly left, while the machine continued to spew out NT$60 000 in bank notes. The person who witnessed this immediately called the police.
Police have seized a Toyota Camry which the men rented at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport. The car was rented after the men arrived Friday evening. They returned the car at 6.30am Monday and departed on a flight to Hong Kong.
The First National Bank sent out a bulletin yesterday afternoon reporting suspicious withdrawals from a total of 34 teller machines at 20 branches over a two day period on July 9 and 10.
All the tellers manipulated in the operation were a particular model made by German company, Wincor Nixdorf. All machines of the vulnerable model have been taken off-line while investigations continue. Chung-Hwa Bank and Taiwan Cooperative Bank, who also have some machines of the type have also taken some machines off-line.
Vulnerabilities in the Wincor Nixdorf machines were exposed on a hacker forum in November last year. Hackers are believed to have used a particular keyboard combination to hack into the machine’s operating system. The company has a dominant position in the Taiwan market with a more than 80% of the market share in in-store and bank ATMs.
A third man is also thought to have been involved in the operation and may still be at large in Taiwan.