Physical ATM attacks in Europe on the increase

Written by Peter Walker

Physical attacks on ATMs have risen for the fourth consecutive year, up 27 per cent when compared with 2017, from 3,584 to 4,549 incidents.

The European Association for Secure Transactions (EAST) reported that losses due to ATM related physical attacks were €36 million, a 16 per cent increase from the €31 million reported during 2017.

The average cash loss per explosive or gas attack is estimated at €17,103, the average cash loss for a robbery is estimated at €13,682 per incident, and the average cash loss for a ram raid or burglary attack is estimated at €13,198.

EAST executive director Lachlan Gunn said: “The success rate for solid explosive attacks is of particular concern – we estimate that the average cash loss per solid explosive attack is €27,065.

“Such attacks continue to spread geographically with two countries reporting them for the first time in early 2019,” he added.

Payment terminal related fraud attacks fell 36 per cent when compared with 2017 - down from 20,971 to 13,511 incidents - mainly driven by a 26 per cent decrease in card skimming incidents - down from 2,556 to 1,883 incidents - and by two thirds fall in transaction reversal fraud incidents - down from 14,098 to 4,843 incidents.

Losses due to payment terminal related fraud attacks fell 30 per cent when compared with 2017 - down from €353 million to €247 million. Within these totals, international skimming losses fell by 27 per cent - down from €280 million to €205 million - and domestic skimming losses were down 44 per cent - from €64 million to €36 million.

A total of 157 ATM malware and logical attacks were reported, down from 192 in 2017, an 18 per cent decrease. Of these, 156 attacks were logical attacks, where equipment typically referred to as a 'black box' is used to send dispense commands directly to the ATM cash dispenser in order to cash-out the ATM. Related losses were down 70 per cent, from €1.52 million to €450,000.