Blog: The ATM Attack Vector that’s More Frequent than You Thought

October 15, 2018  |  DAVID PHISTER

We’ve been talking about security from just about every angle over the past month. I can’t say enough about the importance of prioritizing security measures across your entire network, because criminals are constantly testing every single attack vector to see where you’ve let down your guard. When you shift your focus to cyber-attacks, they shift back to some of the oldest tricks in the book: namely, physical attacks on the ATM.

The thing is, as long as there are big boxes full of cash sitting out in public locations, there will be thieves attempting to break into them. While cyber-attacks grab the headlines with unusual malware names (Carbanak, Ploutus, Rufus, etc.) and global, organized crime coordination, the fact of the matter is that physical attacks are still a modern-day problem for financial institutions.

Recent data from EAST shows a 21% increase in ATM-related physical attacks from 2016 to 2017. Explosive attacks alone were up 9%. Clearly, these old-school attack methods are still working, and they’re more common than you might think. With more than 3,500 attacks charted just in the EAST report, that’s an average of 10 attacks per day in Europe alone!

At an ATMIA conference earlier this year, retired security executive P. Kevin Smith laid it out really plainly, explaining that physical attacks are on the rise, very common in Europe and making their way over to the U.S. “I think attacks on ATMs, frankly, is the most serious thing facing the financial services industry,” he told the crowd.

Countermeasures to physical attacks can—and should—take a variety of forms. Our three-point approach aims to protect defensively and offensively:

  • Detect: seismic, shutter and gas sensors in the ATM are triggered if criminals are tampering with the machine.
  • Deter: high-security safes, which are hardened against gas and solid explosives, offer the best defense especially when combined with an intelligent alarming capability.
  • Neutralize: note staining and inking technology render the cash unusable—a last defense when all other layers have been breached.

Learn more about our end-to-end security solutions here.

Many of our ATMs come standard with some or all of these deterrents. Are your self-service terminals fully protected? We can sit down with you to take a comprehensive look at your current security measures, and identify gaps that should be addressed. Contact us today to get started.

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