Magazine article American Banker

Switch to Windows Is Opening ATMs to More Virus Risk

Magazine article American Banker

Switch to Windows Is Opening ATMs to More Virus Risk

Article excerpt

A Tokyo company is marketing hardware to protect automated teller machines from computer viruses and worms, which have become more of a threat as the industry shifts to Windows.

About 70% of all ATMs shipped to U.S. banks today use Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system.

Trend Micro Inc.'s new Network VirusWall 300 sits inside an ATM and acts as gatekeeper to network traffic. "When it sees traffic that it believes to be malicious, it stops that traffic," said Todd Thiemann, the company's director of device security marketing.

The device can also "quarantine" an ATM if somebody attempts to introduce a virus directly into a single machine, Mr. Thiemann said. That would let network activities continue while the afflicted machine is cleaned.

The company is marketing its system to financial institutions.

Though ATMs are not directly hooked up to the Internet, Windows machines use the same communications format as computer networks, according to Jerry Silva, a senior analyst for the Needham, Mass., market research firm TowerGroup, which is owned by MasterCard International.

Diebold Inc. of North Canton, Ohio, the largest U.S. ATM manufacturer, has said that between 60% and 70% of its new shipments are Windows machines. Its rival NCR Corp. of Dayton, Ohio, said that about 30% of its new machines use Windows, and that in two to four years that figure should be 50%.

Previous generations of ATMs were built on the OS/2 operating system, and many of the machines used proprietary software. …

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