Staying one step ahead in the ATM security challenge (Part 1)

This year marks 50 years since the introduction of the first ATM.

Staying one step ahead in the ATM security challenge (Part 1)

Technology has come a long way since this early version of the self-service systems we use today but one thing hasn’t changed – the need for robust security solutions is critical for ATMs around the world.


Official figures show that self-service systems remain a global target for crime. The European ATM Security Team (EAST) has recently reported that the number of logical ATM attacks continues to rise. In the first half of 2016, twenty eight incidents were recorded – up from just five during the same period in 2015. As technology continues to evolve, so does the nature of fraudulent attacks and with the estimated cost of ATM fraud in excess of £32.7 million per year[i], adequate security is vital.


With the demand for cash set to remain strong, ensuring the integrity of the self-service channel is crucial to preserving good customer service, encouraging loyalty and maintaining a positive brand reputation.


So what can financial institutions do to make sure they are protected from physical, fraudulent and logical attacks?  


Risk assessment

Security starts with understanding both the measures that are currently in place and the potential vulnerabilities that exist within the network. However with the nature of security threats varying widely, knowing where to start can often be a challenge in itself. A good starting point is to break down the different types of threats and map these against existing security.


By performing a vulnerability assessment to identify potential gaps within their networks, banks can begin to make realistic plans for combatting possible risks. Industry intelligence can also provide invaluable information on what is happening in the market now, as well as advice on likely future trends.


Security breaches cause significant disruption to customer service, so putting the right security infrastructure in place is crucial to maintaining what is fast becoming the physical front line of customer service.

[i] Based on 2015 statistics: Dossier: ATMs Network in the United Kingdom, Statista (November, 2016)