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ATM Security ; How to protect the ATMs

The banking industry is working to improve security of modern ATMs to respond to the numerous cyber-attacks experts are observing. The new automated teller machines have enhanced security features such as hard-drive encryption enabled by default, which can prevent malware installations.

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However, older ATMs still deployed worldwide are running on Windows XP and in many cases vulnerable to external cyber-attacks, and the problem is particularly challenging for those machines deployed in all sorts of remote locations. Another difficulty that needs to be addressed is the physical security of the computer inside the ATMs. While the ATM’s money is locked inside a safe, the computer generally is not. Without adequate physical security for these older ATMs, the attacker has the upper hand.

Below is a list of mitigation measures that could be adopted to improve security of ATMs:

Upgrade ATMs to a supported operating system (e.g. Windows 7 or newer versions).
Use full disk encryption to help prevent disk tampering.
Provide adequate physical protection.
Install an efficient CCTV monitoring system to protect the ATMs and be sure that security alarms work. Be sure that the cameras are visible, which could work as a deterrent.
Periodically review the state of physical and logical security status of the installed ATMs. Experts at Kaspersky Lab revealed that cyber criminals behind Tyupkin infected only those ATMs that had no security alarm installed.
Regularly check the ATM for signs of manumissions (e.g. Deployment of skimmers).
Change default upper pool lock and keys in all ATMs. Avoid using default master keys provided by the manufacturer.
Lockdown the BIOS to prevent booting from unauthorized mobile media (e.g. CD ROMs or USB sticks).
Install a system lockdown solution.
The ATM should be securely fixed to the floor with an anti-lasso device.
Be aware of possible social engineering attacks by criminals who try to collect information on the installed ATMs by pretending to be inspectors.
Let us close the post with the illustrious point of view of Sanjay Virmani, Director of the INTERPOL Digital Crime Centre, which is sure that criminals will explore new technologies to steal money from banking systems.

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“Offenders are constantly identifying new ways to evolve their methodologies to commit crimes, and it is essential that we keep law enforcement in our member countries involved and informed about current trends and modus operandi,” said Sanjay Virmani, Director of the INTERPOL Digital Crime Centre.

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