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posted by martyb on Thursday January 29 2015, @01:42PM   Printer-friendly
from the or-how-to-expedite-large-cash-withdrawals dept.

Nick Summers has an interesting article at Bloomberg about the epidemic of 90 ATM bombings that has hit Britain since 2013. ATM machines are vulnerable because the strongbox inside an ATM has two essential holes: a small slot in front that spits out bills to customers and a big door in back through which employees load reams of cash in large cassettes. "Criminals have learned to see this simple enclosure as a physics problem," writes Summers. "Gas is pumped in, and when it’s detonated, the weakest part—the large hinged door—is forced open. After an ATM blast, thieves force their way into the bank itself, where the now gaping rear of the cash machine is either exposed in the lobby or inside a trivially secured room. Set off with skill, the shock wave leaves the money neatly stacked, sometimes with a whiff of the distinctive acetylene odor of garlic." The rise in gas attacks has created a market opportunity for the companies that construct ATM components. Several manufacturers now make various anti-gas-attack modules: Some absorb shock waves, some detect gas and render it harmless, and some emit sound, fog, or dye to discourage thieves in the act.

As far as anyone knows, there has never been a gas attack on an American ATM. The leading theory points to the country’s primitive ATM cards. Along with Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and not many other countries, the U.S. doesn’t require its plastic to contain an encryption chip, so stealing cards remains an effective, non-violent way to get at the cash in an ATM. Encryption chip requirements are coming to the U.S. later this year, though. And given the gas raid’s many advantages, it may be only a matter of time until the back of an American ATM comes rocketing off.

 
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  • (Score: 2) by TK on Thursday January 29 2015, @10:45PM

    by TK (2760) on Thursday January 29 2015, @10:45PM (#139318)

    I'm not suggesting fitting a whole thief in there, just enough space to fit the sharp end of a pry-bar. With a big enough lever, I could presumably wrench the case open without making too much noise (dremels need not apply).

    I suppose a simpler way to defeat a ventilation duct would be duct tape and a small piece of cardboard.

    Next time I'm at an ATM, I'll have to take a gander at the available access points and see if I could jam something in there to give me some leverage. I just have to try to not look suspicious while doing so.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30 2015, @12:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30 2015, @12:49AM (#139344)

    I'm not suggesting fitting a whole thief in there, just enough space to fit the sharp end of a pry-bar.

    Yuh-huh. And what are you going to be prying on? When that ventilation duct is in a wall of reinforced concrete, your crowbar is not going to be of much use.