Magazine article Security Management

Armoring ATMs against Attack

Magazine article Security Management

Armoring ATMs against Attack

Article excerpt

ATM SAFETY AND SECURITY. What does it mean?

Basically we are talking about providing a prudent and reasonable level of protection from criminal acts against ATM customers and service teams and safeguarding currency, deposits, facilities, and equipment.

In other words, customer and employee safety and asset protection are the primary objectives. While federal regulations mandate minimum levels of protection, enhanced levels of protection are dictated by assessing risks at individual sites.

From a security officer's perspective, getting in on the ground floor of ATM site selection is ideal. Protection, for example, is more difficult if you are assigned to specify hardware for an ATM in an area that the marketing department describes as having high traffic when that "traffic" may actually be drug traffic or street gangs.

A scenario like this can be avoided if you request that the security department be involved in the planning stage. You can also request a crime analysis for the site and surrounding area from the local Police department.

Once a site has been chosen, the machine and its contents must be protected. Let's start with the physical security of the site, specifically the ATM hardware. I am not aware of any ATM that does not meet the requirements of the Bank Protection Act of 1968 or that is not UL-rated. So let us assume that your ATM meets the standards related to weight, tensile strength, locking mechanism, etc.

At the very least, alarm system components should include door contacts, shock/seismic sensors, and heat detectors in the machine. These devices deter attacks to the machine itself. If appropriate, consider installing ATM-room door contacts and passive infrared detectors, which allow for early warning of impending attack.

The hardware required for people who service ATMs should include duress or antiambush alarms. If an ATM is in a remote location or a detached configuration, servicers should carry a handheld radio frequency alarm activator to and from the machine.

Because ATM servicers are most vulnerable to attack during daily servicing, security is extremely important. Procedures for servicing should be stringent, in writing, and adhered to. They should cover such topics as dual control, cash transport, and deposit handling.

Three don't ever's should be written into your procedures. Don't ever: * Transport currency alone. Instead, use at least two people, one to carry and one to look out. * Transport currency through the lobby when it is open to the public. * Transport currency openly to a detached ATM site. Instead, disguise the currency cassette so its contents are not revealed. If possible, vary the disguise.

If an ATM is in a high-crime location, consider third-party servicing. This may cost more, but it is better than risking someone's life or losing a great deal of cash. …

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