A 20 year-old ATM hacker has been sentenced to three years in the US for his attempt to reprogram the machines to read that they contained $1 notes instead of $20 notes.
Thor Morris, who was arrested in April 2010, had travelled from his home state of North Carolina to Houston, where he was arrested while attempting to gain access to a storefront ATM.
Morris pleaded guilty in January to the charge of attempting to defraud 35 ATMs of more than $200,000, according to an FBI statement.
The ATM scam could have allowed him to withdraw $8,000 from a prepaid debit card worth just $400, according to court documents obtained by Wired at the time of his arrest.
Morris was attempting to exploit the default passwords of two ATM manufacturers, which were in service manuals that were available online.
His plans came unstuck after a would-be accomplice, Brian Martin, who had recently been released from jail, told authorities of his plans.
Morris hoped Martin would place a GPS tracking device on vans that serviced those machine models in order to widen his net.
The hacker had allegedly confided that in his role as a “front line manager” at a department store, he had learned how to void customer transactions and install that money on to PrePaid Visa cards. He had also learned how to transfer funds from his store’s Western Union machine without a record.