ATM Security Threats: Tips for Protecting Forex Traders
As the world of financial transactions increases in complexity, so too do the potential risks associated with them. ATM machines are no exception, having become a major target for thieves, both digital and physical, looking to take advantage of unwary customers. In this article, we’ll explore the various security threats posed by ATMs in the foreign exchange (forex) market and what steps customers can take to stay safe.
ATM Security Threats Overview
ATM security is becoming increasingly important as increasingly sophisticated attacks are being used to target cash machines. In 2020-2022, we observed significant changes in the threat landscape of ATM/PoS malware attacks. Nowadays, attackers use a variety of tactics such as DMA attacks, backhoes, authentication flaws, and logic attacks. Understanding these threats and properly strengthening your ATM cybersecurity will help you to keep yourself and your money safe.
The Top 5 ATM Security Threats
The threat landscape of ATM/POS malware attacks is evolving quickly. Below are the top five ATM security threats to be aware of:
- Backhoes: ATMs are vulnerable to physical threats such as backhoes, as they are large items that contain money. Although such attacks are not so widespread, it is important to remember that people who are aware of these weaknesses might use them to their advantage.
- DMA Attacks: DMA attacks involve attackers sending malware to vulnerable systems attached to ATMs. Such malware is capable of executing commands like withdraw cash without authorization.
- Authentication Flaws: Some attacks have leveraged an authentication flaw in the remote access protocol to allow remote attackers full access to the ATM. It is essential to make sure that any remote access protocols and authentication standards are maintained to the highest possible standard.
- Websites that Instantly Spit Out Cash: There are scams which offer websites that promise to spit out cash (up to $500 per day). As the name suggests, websites like the Website ATM are often true to their word but come with serious risks, as the money they give out is usually fake.
- Logic Attacks: Logic attacks involve attackers getting access to ATM systems via social engineering (e.g., bluffing employees at banks or service providers). Attackers can also use custom-made software to exploit vulnerabilities in the system to retrieve sensitive information and withdraw money from ATMs.
Best Practices for ATM Security
To protect against any of these threats, financial institutions should consider implementing the following best practices:
- Regularly audit systems and machines for discrepancies, vulnerabilities or suspicious activity. Also make sure to update the system software regularly to take advantage of the latest security updates.
- Ensure that remote access protocols or authentication standards are maintained to the highest standard.
- Implement physical barriers such as locks, cages and secure fencing around ATMs.
- Utilize security cameras and other monitoring systems.
- Purchase and permanently install ATM cassettes that employ trackable serial numbers. This means that if an ATM cassette is stolen, it can be easily identified and traced in the criminal community.
- Invest in independent testing and certification to BS EN 1143-1 standard. This standard is a specification for the construction and testing of physical security cabinets/enclosures that is required by most banks and ATM manufacturers.
- Implement a network-wide visibility into threats. While many threats are often localized to an individual ATM, having a coordinated response network-wide is essential in detecting, analysing and responding to potential cyber threats.
By understanding the threats to ATM security and implementing the best practices mentioned, you can keep yourself and your money safe. As ATM attacks continue to evolve, it is important for financial institutions to stay up to date with the latest security measures. Moreover, by deploying systems that are regularly audited, updated and certified to BS EN 1143-1 standards, you can make sure that your ATM is well-protected and safe from all kinds of cyber threats.