Three people, including a Russian national, stole 70 million Taiwan dollars ($A2.9 million) from 34 ATMs in Taiwan at the weekend.

Taiwan’s top eight banks have suspended services on 900 Automated Teller Machines(ATMs) across the island, after thieves made off with NT$70 million (S$2.94 million) in a coordinated heist, apparently with the help of malware.

Bank of Taiwan, Chang Hwa Bank, First Bank and five other banks said on Tuesday (July 12) they were checking their German-made cash machines after First Bank’s ATM machines in Taipei and Taichung were broken into last weekend. First Bank Vice President Yeh Chung-huei told reporters the money was stolen from 34 ATMs at 20 of the bank’s branches in the two cities on Saturday and Sunday.

He said malware is believed to have been installed into individual ATMs, making the machines dispense bills automatically.

The ATMs were made by German manufacturer Wincor Nixdorf (WNXDY). The company confirmed that several of its machines in Taiwan were hacked in a “premeditated attack.”

Wincor Nixdorf said Thursday it had sent security experts to support local investigators in Taiwan.

Prosecutors said the machines were infected with three different malware files that instructed them to “spit out cash” and then deleted evidence of the crime. They described the case as the first of its kind in Taiwan.

The losses would be shouldered by the bank itself, according to Kuei Hsien-nung, vice chairman of Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission.

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