Daily Archives: 2006-11-18

The ATM Protection Racket

EMV (or “Chip and PIN” as it’s known in the UK) is changing the fraud landscape, no doubt about it. Counterfeit card fraud at POS is down, card theft is down, card-not-present is up, phishing is up, ATM fraud is up. Fraud migrates, we get the picture. But as EMV reaches maximal deployment in the next five years or so, the banks and other investors in this technology are hoping that the flood will abate to a trickle, and that some holes can be totally plugged.

I’ve been thinking about whether or not EMV is capable of sorting out the ATM fraud problem (also known as “phantom withdrawals”) once and for all. Well as I wandered around town this afternoon, I snapped some pics at WH Smiths this afternoon of an ATM in distress, and it reminded me how horribly vulnerable our ATM infrastructure is.


It’s not just the “look of vulnerability” exuded by them… like these cheap wafer-locks on the housing of the aforementioned ATM (I’m sure there must be a better lock before the cash safe itself), it’s that all the security is based around keeping the money and the secrets safe, and very little attention is focussed on keeping the machine alive and operating.


Read on to find out my master plan…

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