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European ATM Security Team Warns of Across-the-Board Attacks

Liviu ARSENE

April 03, 2013

European ATM Security Team Warns of Across-the-Board Attacks

The European ATM Security Team, or EAST, issued a warning that skimming attacks on all types of ATMs have intensified. Everything from bank ATMs to bus ticket machines and point-of-sale terminals have been hit by attacks, all resulting in significant financial losses.

Common methods involving card skimming have been replaced by physically stealing ATM machines or placing fake display screens and pads that record PIN numbers and display “out of order” messages. Such behavior was typically observed in countries such as the US, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Thailand, where chip-and-pin cards are not yet as popular.

European ATM Security Team Warns of Across-the-Board Attacks“From January to December 2012 such losses were reported in 54 countries and territories outside of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and in 17 countries within SEPA,” says the report. “The USA remains the top location for such losses, followed by the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Mexico.”

Other instruments, such as cash claws, were used to deprive victims of transactions. The number of events involving cash trapping techniques seems to have increased, reports EAST.

“Cash trapping incidents were reported by eighteen countries, with significant increases being reported by three of them,” says the report. “Seven countries reported explosive gas attacks, and this form of attack appears to be increasing across Europe.”

Although without specific tips to avoid such incidents or spot fake ATMs or card skimmers, citizens are advised to exercise extreme caution. Cards having only a magnetic strip and no chip are extremely easy to counterfeit, and unsuspecting victims might end up with cashed-out bank accounts.

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