ATM Skimming Rising After Increasing 546% Between 2014-2015

FICO Card Alert Service just released data that indicated ATM skimming increased 546 percent from 2014 to 2015. That increase represents the largest year-over-year increase that the service has seen in its more than 20 years of existence. The FICO research is based on the analysis of thousands of U.S. ATMs, and it shows that off-premises retail ATMs were most often targeted. These off-premise machines were attacked 10 times as often in 2015 compared to 2014.

Fortunately for banks, criminals are more heavily targeting non-bank ATMs, due to their vulnerability. In 2015, non-bank ATMs accounted for 60 percent of all compromises, up from 39 percent in 2014. That still means that 40 percent of this huge increase in skimming attacks is directly targeting bank ATMs and the problems that skimming causes are still falling to banks and other card issuers to resolve.

Criminals are targeting weaker links in the system, including sometimes hacking into machines and not just simply installing skimming devices. These types of attacks are more common at non-bank locations and show the blurring of lines between skimming and certain forms of cybercrime.

ATM skimming is still a much larger problem in the United States than in other parts of the world. Experts are predicting that skimming in the U.S. will become more prevalent at all unattended terminals until they have been upgraded to accept EMV cards.

Closely monitoring and regularly inspecting ATMs is the best way to detect a skimming attack. Machines that are not closely monitored or inspected frequently are at the highest risk. It is far too easy for criminals to attach skimming devices, in many cases accompanied with cameras to catch the PIN when it is keyed. Criminals have also improved their methods of matching the color and material on the ATM surround or camouflaging the device on a gas pump or other machine. These factors have made detection of skimming devices more difficult and the extremely lucrative nature of the attacks ensure that they will continue to rise.

If you have any questions about your bank’s IT security give ITPAC a call today.