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Crypto ATMs once installed at H-E-B stores were hacked; unclear which stores had them | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


People who used Coin Cloud cryptocurrency ATMs installed in some H-E-B stores beginning in 2021 may have had their personal information compromised by hackers. The grocer says it now leases space to crypto ATMs owned by another company whose software wasn’t involved in the hack.

JERRY LARA, Staff / San Antonio Express-News

People who used Coin Cloud cryptocurrency ATMs installed in some H-E-B stores beginning in 2021 may have had their personal information compromised by hackers.

A cybersecurity collective called “vx-underground” said hackers apparently breached the machines and stole the personal data of 300,000 customers, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, email addresses, telephone numbers, occupations and street addresses. Additionally, they got 70,000 pictures of customers taken on cameras in the ATMs across the U.S. and Brazil, according to a report in TechCrunch. 

Crypto ATMS are kiosks where people insert cash to buy various types of the unregulated digital currency such as Bitcoin and others. Kiosk operators charge users varying interest rates, sometimes up to 26%, for the service.     

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Coin Cloud maintained thousands of such machines until it filed for bankruptcy in February. Another operator, Genesis Coin, acquired 5,700 of Coin Cloud’s ATMs but that company was subsequently sold.

When Coin Cloud announced it was installing machines at H-E-B two years ago, the San Antonio grocer said the program would begin with 29 stores in the Houston area.

H-E-B spokesman Valentino Lucio declined to say how many of the machines were ultimately installed or where they were.

Crypto ATMs now in H-E-B stores are owned and operated by Margo Network, a third-party vendor that leases space for the machines. Lucio said Margo told H-E-B the machines in its stores did not run the software that was allegedly hacked. He referred further questions to Margo, which did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

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Cryptocurrency is highly volatile, and so too is the Crypto ATM business. 

Bitcoin ATM is the current owner of the Coin Cloud assets, according to TechCrunch. Andrew Barnard, Bitcoin ATM’s CEO, described the breach “a mystery,” and told the outlet that the firm began an investigation, but so far hasn’t determined when it happened or who was responsible. 

“The data breach happened a while ago as Coin Cloud has been hacked multiple times in the past when they were still an operating company,” Barnard said in an e-mail to TechCrunch. “I believe that data is just now being ransomed.”

Crypto ATMS spread rapidly between 2020 and 2022, but the business appears to be slowing according to statistics from CoinATMradar.com, a website that tracks digital currency ATMs. At the phenomenon’s height in August 2022, more than 34,500 Crypto ATMS dotted grocers, gas stations, liquor stores and smoke shops around the country. Now, there are about 27,200 such machines operating. 

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In the San Antonio-area, the number of Crypto ATMs ballooned from 31 in 2019 to more than 250 today. People create digital wallets on the ATMs through which they can invest in various digital currencies. There are more than 8,500 types of cryptocurrency, according to Coinbase. The most popular are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, XRP and Solana.

ATM customers deposit their cash and select which cryptocurrency to buy a portion of. They can also sell cryptocurrency through the machines.

Madison Iszler contributed to this report.

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