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Where and how are ATM skimming attacks taking place?

By : Owen Wild

January 14, 2016 08:30 AM


For banks and ATM deployers, it’s vital to know where skimming attacks are to be expected and what form they will take. This allows for an accurate picture to be built for the deployment of countermeasures. Given that skimming remains the number one attack vector, albeit only just, it’s a top priority for fraud prevention investment. As discussed in the previous piece about the ATM Industry Association’s research, there is a big problem around understanding the true cost of ATM fraud. Respondents to its 
Global Fraud and Security Survey 2015 had no idea about the cost of one in three attacks. And it seems there is also a knowledge gap about the form of attacks and where they are happening. Again, this is a big worry as owners need to be able to invest in the right countermeasures and make informed decisions about deployment. Five key results from the survey highlight the trouble: 1) Although most respondents (55 percent) reported they had no skimming at bank vestibules, one in four were unsure. 20 percent confirmed they had experienced skimming at bank vestibules, but with a quarter unsure this could amount up to 45 percent. 2) A majority of the respondents (55 percent) were unsure about which technology is predominantly being used for skimming. For those who did, there was a roughly even split between digital and analogue. 3) While just over half (53 percent) reported the miniaturization of skimming devices, one in three (30 percent) did not know whether miniaturized devices were in play or not. 4) On a slightly more technical level, one in four respondents didn’t know the distance between the skimmer read head and the card slot. 5) Finally, when it comes to the location of the skimmer at the ATM, there was much better understanding. However, still five percent were unsure whether devices were attached to the genuine ATM card reader read heads, positioned externally to the card reader, connected to the card reader electronics, inside the card reader ‘throat,’ or to the vestibule door. If we are to tackle ATM skimming as an industry, helping owners and deployers to understand where and how these attacks are occurring is a crucial step.

Owen Wild

Security Marketing Director

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Owen Wild is responsible for marketing strategies for the NCR Security Solutions within NCR’s Financial Solution Portfolio. Over the past 15 years, Owen has held several sales and marketing positions with leading travel and tech cos.