It is no secret automated teller machines are of great interest to criminals and gangs. Especially in Europe, attacks against these devices are on the rise. The so-called black box attacks are definitely on the rise throughout 2017 in spectacular fashion. This attack revolves around attaching a device to ATMS as a way to force cashouts. While this trend has been around for some time, things are definitely escalating.

The concept of an ATM black box attack is anything but new. In fact, this concept goes back several years, even though it has never been much of an issue. There have been some reports every year, but nothing extraordinary whatsoever. That was, until the year 2017, as things are picking up quite a margin. In fact, the current trend is getting rather worrisome, as things are not looking great by any means.

Black Box Attack Numbers Increase

To put this into perspective, there have been 114 attacks during the first half of 2017. These attacks are taking place across 11 different countries. Compared to the first half of 2016, the numbers are up by over 300%. During that time, a total of 28 black box attacks was recorded. Although that number was considered rather high, this new trend goes to show criminals are still coming up with new ways to exploit this concept.

As one would expect, a lot of money is lost due to ATM black box attacks. Around 1.5 million has been stolen this year alone. Unfortunately, it is not the only worrisome trend in the payments industry right now. Payment terminal fraud is up by 10% as well. In most cases, these attacks are a result of transaction reversal fraud, followed by card skimming. This latter trend is effectively on the decline. In fact, its number of reported incidents is the lowest since 2004.

Europe is not the best region when it comes to finance, by the look of things. Making headlines due to mounting fraud numbers is the last thing this region needs. Criminals are also performing more physical attacks on cash machines this year. A 6% increase has been recorded throughout 2017. One upside is how less money has been stolen due to these physical attacks.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock


About Author

JP Buntinx is a 30-year old FinTech and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium. His passion for finance and technology made him one of the world's leading freelance Bitcoin writers, and he is working to achieve the same level of respect in the FinTech sector.

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