ATM Physical Attacks on the Rise
Posted by Melissa Carroll, Marketing Communications Coordinator, FTSI on 1/24/2020

Advisory Warning

FTSI has been alerted of a recent series of attacks that have occurred with freestanding drive-up ATM units. These attacks involve using brute force by a truck to open the ATM safe door. The attacks that have been reported are a modification to the pull-out attacks, which targets freestanding, drive-up units and uses a hook and chain attached to both the truck and ATM unit to force open the safe door. These new attacks are completed in less than 5 minutes and have resulted in average of $120K in customer loses, including damage to the ATM and surrounding area. 

Know the Types of Physical ATM Attacks

Before reviewing various solutions to protect ATM units from physical attacks, it is important to know what types of attacks have been attempted by criminals around the world to raid ATMs for the cash in their safes. 

Rip-Out Attacks: Criminals will use a backhoe or forklift to dismantle any wall or barrier holding the ATM in place and try to scoop out the ATM to haul it elsewhere.

Pull-Out or Ram-Raid Attacks: Thieves will use any type of power-towing vehicle to wrap a chain around the ATM with a hook attached to the vehicle. The vehicle then attempts to drive off, pulling and removing the ATM from its spot and loaded into the vehicle to be hauled away.

Attacks with Tools: When heavy duty vehicles and backhoes are not available, criminals may resort to grinders or thermal lances to cut open the ATM and access the ATM safe to remove the cash by hand. Thermal tools are often more successful at cutting through thick metal parts.

Explosive Attacks: Not as common as the other types of physical attacks, but just as dangerous, explosive attacks are exactly as its name describes. Criminals will pour flammable materials through an opening in the ATM and ignite it with a time delay which results in the explosion exposing the ATM safe, creating an easy access for the thief to grab the cash and run.

Solution and Benefits

NCR has addressed the potential threat to its drive-up ATMs by releasing the Safe Slot Reinforcement kit. The SSR solution provides a significant deterrent to the brute force attacks to freestanding units and a further layer of security for the ATM. This solution is available to protect front access drive-up Self Serv 88, 37, and 38 units.

The SSR kits are a discrete way to add the necessary protection to drive-up ATM units. The SSR kit ?lls the space found around the CD and SDM modules, making it far more di?cult to damage the module transports & subsequently insert a hook through the apertures in the safe door. The SSR features are hidden under the shutters and are only visible once the fascia is opened.

Recommendations and Guidance

Please be aware that these forms of attacks are an industry-wide issue and there is no way to 100% guarantee the protection of your ATMs and your customers. Criminals are constantly evolving the methods used to either access cash from ATM safes or steal customer information from ATM use while bypassing branch security, so it is important to educate branch staff and have routine ATM checks to lookout for any signs of tampering.

The best way to prevent ATM attacks is to closely monitor your ATM activity. We recommend having branch staff inspect each ATM every morning to look for signs of suspicious activity. It is important to also regularly review your security footage as well to inspect for any suspicious activity at your ATMs.

Education and awareness for all branch employees is essential so that everyone is aware of what to be on the lookout for. If you have any questions or would like more information about possible solutions, please reach out FTSI security team. Contact FTSI

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