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Armoring ATMs against attack.

ATM SAFETY AND SECURITY. What does it mean?

Basically we are talking about providing a prudent and reasonable level of protection from criminal acts against ATM customers and service teams and safeguarding currency, deposits, facilities, and equipment.

In other words, customer and employee safety and asset protection are the primary objectives. While federal regulations mandate minimum levels of protection, enhanced levels of protection are dictated by assessing risks at individual sites.

From a security officer's perspective, getting in on the ground floor of ATM site selection is ideal. Protection, for example, is more difficult if you are assigned to specify hardware for an ATM in an area that the marketing department describes as having high traffic when that "traffic" may actually be drug traffic or street gangs.

A scenario like this can be avoided if you request that the security department be involved in the planning stage. You can also request a crime analysis for the site and surrounding area from the local Police department.

Once a site has been chosen, the machine and its contents must be protected. Let's start with the physical security of the site, specifically the ATM hardware. I am not aware of any ATM that does not meet the requirements of the Bank Protection Act of 1968 or that is not UL-rated. So let us assume that your ATM meets the standards related to weight, tensile strength, locking mechanism, etc.

At the very least, alarm system components should include door contacts, shock/seismic sensors, and heat detectors in the machine. These devices deter attacks to the machine itself. If appropriate, consider installing ATM-room door contacts and passive infrared detectors, which allow for early warning of impending attack.

The hardware required for people who service ATMs should include duress or antiambush alarms. If an ATM is in a remote location or a detached configuration, servicers should carry a handheld radio frequency alarm activator to and from the machine.

Because ATM servicers are most vulnerable to attack during daily servicing, security is extremely important. Procedures for servicing should be stringent, in writing, and adhered to. They should cover such topics as dual control, cash transport, and deposit handling.

Three don't ever's should be written into your procedures. Don't ever: * Transport currency alone. Instead, use at least two people, one to carry and one to look out. * Transport currency through the lobby when it is open to the public. * Transport currency openly to a detached ATM site. Instead, disguise the currency cassette so its contents are not revealed. If possible, vary the disguise.

If an ATM is in a high-crime location, consider third-party servicing. This may cost more, but it is better than risking someone's life or losing a great deal of cash. AFTER-HOURS RESPONSE TO ATM SITES also requires extreme caution and alertness. Procedures after hours should be meticulous and strictly adhered to with a police response plan in place and ready to implement.

Procedures should include a series of calls and callbacks that begin with your network control area notifying the ATM service team that a machine needs servicing. The call verifies the need for service and confirms that the appropriate person has been contacted to perform the service.

Calls also verify that the ATM service team has safely arrived and has completed the service. Procedures should include code words the team can use to indicate if they are in trouble.

All information regarding the response team should be relayed from team to network to alarm monitor.

Companies need to train service teams in how to approach a branch or ATM site after hours, what to look for, what to do if something unusual is observed, and what to do on leaving after service.

Here is an example of a typical after-hours scenario.

Your network control center receives a signal that says there is a problem at a particular ATM. The control center contacts the response team. A team member calls the network and gives its estimated time of arrival and the make, model, color, and license plate number of the vehicle the team will be driving.

The control center then calls the alarm monitor and relays the information. If the team members expect to arrive more than 10 minutes late to the location, they call to inform the alarm monitor so that the police are not called when the team fails to show up on time.

Guidelines and training about how to react if attacked, codes to use, and alarm activation are also important, and employees should be well trained in those subjects.

Most of the safety and security issues in front of the machine overlap and, I think, complement each other. It is hard to say which of the customer-side security concerns is most important, so let's start with landscaping. In a nutshell, landscaping should be kept to a size and height that won't allow criminals to hide.

Illumination requirements should be approached as a three-phase task-the amount of light at the face of the ATM, the amount in the immediate area (10 to 20 feet from the machine), and the amount outward from that point. Each step away requires less light.

As for how much light is enough, California is the only state I know of that has enacted an ATM-user safety law. Among other requirements, it mandates certain light levels (10 foot-candles at the machine and two foot-candles within 60 feet of the machine). I suggest that companies adopt the minimum standard, then judge each site individually. Joseph M. Fahed is the security projects manager for Crestar Bank in Richmond, VA. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Issue; Financial Institution Security; automated teller machines
Author:Fahed, Joseph M.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:What can you ask?
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