Physical attacks

ATM Explosive Attacks fall in Europe

EAST has published a European Payment Terminal Crime Report covering the first 6 months of 2021 which shows a significant fall in ATM explosive attacks.

While overall ATM related physical attacks were up 2% (from 1,829 to 1,873 incidents), mainly driven by a rise in vandalism, ATM explosive attacks (including explosive gas and solid explosive attacks) were down 52% (from 505 to 241 incidents).  Attacks due to ram raids and ATM burglary were down 42% (from 405 to 234 incidents).  Losses due to ATM related physical attacks were €4.9 million, a 61% decrease from the €12.6 million reported during the same period in 2020.  35% of these losses were due to explosive attacks, which were down 58% from €7.6 million to €3.2 million.

EAST Executive Director Lachlan Gunn said, “The first 6 months of this year have been influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, although travel restrictions have eased across Europe. This significant fall in explosive attacks at ATMs is welcome news for all of us, given the destructive nature of such attacks and the resultant risks to life and property. However, the prize remains an attractive option for criminals and the average cash loss per successful solid explosive attack is now estimated at €40,877. To address the issue our EGAP expert group has worked closely with Europol and other Law Enforcement Agencies, and all parties remain vigilant to the threat.”

ATM malware and logical attacks against ATMs were down 74% (from 129 to 33) and all but one of the reported attacks were Black Box attacks. A Black Box attack is the connection of an unauthorised device which sends dispense commands directly to the ATM cash dispenser, to ‘cash-out’ or ‘jackpot’ the ATM. Related losses were down 37% from €1.0 to €0.63 million. Most such attacks remain unsuccessful.

Terminal related fraud attacks were down 24% (from 3,631 to 2,775 incidents). Card skimming fell to another all-time low (down from 321 to 279 incidents) and transaction reversal fraud (TRF) at ATMs decreased by 100% (down from 108 to zero incidents). Total losses of €102 million were reported, down 6% from the €109 million reported during the same period in 2020. Most losses remain international issuer losses due to card skimming, which were €86 million.

A summary of the report statistics under the main headings is in the table below.


The full Crime Report is available to EAST Members (National, Global and Associate)

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