Crypto ATM data breach

I have three things to say about this.

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

The San Antonio grocer said the machines in its stores weren’t involved in the breach, which a cybersecurity collective called “vx-underground” says netted hackers the personal data of 300,000 customers across the U.S. and Brazil, according to a report in TechCrunch. Additionally, they got 70,000 pictures of customers taken on cameras in the ATMs.

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.

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.

The Coin Cloud machines that were installed in H-E-B stores are now owned and operated by Margo Network, the companies said.


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.”

1. Gotta say, if I had used one of those machines, that last bit would not be very reassuring to me. Maybe bring in some cybersecurity experts to help out here? Just a thought.

2. On that note, in case it’s not clear from the story, the breach is not related to the ATMs themselves but to the back end, where the customer data is kept. My guess is it wasn’t all that well secured to begin with, and the multiple changes in corporate ownership hasn’t helped.

3. Seriously, what is the use case for these things? Who needs to buy or trade cryptocurrency while at the grocery store? I remain utterly baffled by this.

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