After buying ATMs and the code it was easy after 2 years of hacking. It wouldn't be so easy if he could not recreate the vulnerabilities.
Cyber security is a real issue. If you think that all we have to worry about is the script kiddie down the street with lots of time on your hand, you are mistaken. People like Barnaby Jack have made careers out of looking into the products that are dumped into the market, and exploring thier vulnerabilties, then going back the the manufacturers and showing them how to make thier products more secure. Security is a nusiance to most manufacturers ... they want to concentrate of features and benefits and time to market.
An interesting sidenote you can get by reading other articles on this ... Barnaby Jack was supposed to give this talk at this conference last year, but did not ... the manufacturers have had a full year to fix the software.
A former ATM mechanic/service technician in San Antonio devised a way to do this back in the late 80s. He didn’t use a computer, didn’t know how to hack, just had a knack.
He was able to fix up a card where the magnetic code had been adjusted somehow to allow universal entry to the ATM. He’d go to stores and filling stations and empty the ATMs.
He got caught in an unusal way. Since he knew all about the cameras, he always covered the lens, often with shaving cream at an outdoor bank ATM. One time while he was preparing to do his thing a serious accident occurred in the street nearby. He went over and played good samaritan with the injured until the ambulances got there. Then he went back to the ATM but in his rush, he forgot that he hadn’t covered the lens. Soon the FBI was circulating a picture of him in the neighborhoods and he was identified for the reward posted by the banks.
During his incarceration, he was let out of jail to demonstrate to the bank and ATM manufacturers exactly how he did it. I don’t know if this got him a lighter sentence.
If he had left San Antonio to ply his larceny in other towns across the country, he’d probably still be doing it today.