2016 Saw Less ATM Crimes, But Growing Number of Attack Vectors

The new report published by the ATM Industry Association paints a worrisome picture of ATM fraud in 2016. Although the overall crime numbers have gone down, there is a growing number of attack vectors that need to be taken into account. It is evident the financial sector has their work cut out for them in 2017 and the years beyond as criminals continue to devise new strategies.

ATM Crime Figures Drop in 2016

Even though there is a reason for optimism among ATM industry members, the criminal threat is far from over. On the one hand, the total number of reported attacks has decreased in 2016, which is a positive development. But on the other hand, criminals have come up with new ways to commit ATM fraud, and it is expected they will continue to innovate.

Douglas Russell, a renowned international ATM security expert, conducted this 2016 study. It is evident the lack of communication between industry members creates a big problem. Without proper guidelines on how to handle specific threats, criminals are given a chance to exploit loopholes in different systems. Creating a unified plan of action should be the top priority for 2017.

Among the popular crime trends related to ATMs are skimming, PIN compromise, deposit-related fraud, and transaction reversal fraud. But the number of attack vectors goes well beyond these “traditional problems.” The number of cash and card trapping attacks has risen in 2016, which is not a positive development by any means.

ATM Industry Association CEO Mike Lee stated the following:

“ATMIA urges all members and stakeholders in the industry to read the 2016 fraud survey and then to consult our online library of international ATM security best practices, free for all ATMIA members, in order to reduce risks of attacks in the new year.”

A concentrated effort is needed by the ATM industry to step up their security measures. International standards need to be created sooner rather than later, allowing the industry to tackle fraud as a group. Moreover, there is a call to reach out to law enforcement agencies regarding these matters. Creating a mutually beneficial relationship between the ATM industry and law enforcement can help reduce the number of fraudulent reports over time.

ATM technology is so widespread it can become quite difficult for industry members to keep tabs on everything that is going on. By coming together as a group, developing countermeasures should become an easier process. But until that happens, criminals will have free reign over the ATM networks all over the world. Rest assured they will continue to look for weaknesses and use them to their advantage.

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