In the United States, non-bank branded ATMs (gas stations and bars) do not have integrated surveillance cameras, so the only surveillance footage would be what is retained by the store’s general surveillance system. Meanwhile, stores with digital CCTVS will retain 7-60 days of footage, which is enough to aid in almost all credit card fraud investigations.

However, bank branded ATMs (especially ones located at actual banks) retain at least 90 days of footage, although 365 days of retention is quite common owing to certain resources. Since certain types of fraud can take months to discover, it is worth it for the banks to pay the extra cost to have enough hard drives to store a year’s worth of footage.

An ATM works by accepting a cash request from a user, verifying the user’s authority to access a particular bank account, ensuring that the account has enough money to fulfill the request, and dispensing the money – all without the assistance of a bank clerk or teller.

Right from the onset, all the way back to the first ATM placed in use in London in 1967, the user’s identity was the primary problem banks needed to solve. Rather than today’s plastic card with a magnetic strip and embedded microchip, the first machine accepted a slip of paper with a mildly radioactive substance – carbon-14 – printed on it in a particular pattern.

However, when using modern ATMs, a customer inserts a plastic card into the machine’s reader, which registers either the data encoded on the card’s magnetic strip or its embedded chip. It prompts the customer for a personal identification number, usually called a PIN, often four or six digits long.

Note that if the card and PIN match, then the customer can deposit money, check an account balance, or, most commonly, request a cash withdrawal. When the customer specifies an amount of money, the machine uses an internet connection or a phone line to connect to the customer’s bank, verifying the funds are available and dispense the cash.

Since ATMs contain large amounts of cash, they are quite an attractive target for criminals. The most brazen thefts tend to involve physically stealing the ATM as a whole, though muggers have also accosted ATM users, who, unsurprisingly, are likely to be carrying cash. Therefore, most ATMs today have built-in cameras, to record evidence in case of a mugging or other crime, or to monitor people who might be tampering with the machine.

Note that the camera or modern video surveillance solutions increase the basic level of self-service devices protection, provide proactive ATM protection, simplify access to video when resolving disputes, and optimize operating with large amounts of transaction data.

But banks are expected to have a high-quality reliable network connection with their terminals, a dedicated server for storing data, and strict access control procedures to realize all these functions. Here are various or under used functions of an ATM camera or video surveillance.

Under Used Functions Of An ATM Camera

  1. Access To Photo And Video Of Transactions

Notably, photos and videos collected from all ATMs are stored on a server. The bank can easily search for the necessary information about any transaction by various parameters (card number, transaction date, event, or alarm). The system collects information from all devices of the terminal network, so you can search through your entire ATM fleet.

According to experts, this reduces the response time to disputes and requires less effort from the bank to resolve them. Card details are masked according to PCI Data Security Standard to ensure a high level of personal data security. Only authorized users can access them.

  1. Real-Time Response To Attacks

Modern ATM surveillance systems can also report incidents in real time. If attackers try to force a terminal, the bank’s security service receives an alarm notification and event footage and can respond immediately. Howbeit, those special alarm sensors should be installed on the ATM to realize this function.

Also, note that the system can be configured so that the alarm notifications come to the mobile phone. Furthermore, you can set a scenario when if any unlawful impact on an ATM occurs, your scenario could close the doors to the space where the cash machine is located, send a signal to the police, and turn off the terminal.

Once anyone covers the ATM security cameras or a hidden camera, the video surveillance system sends a notification to the bank’s security service. At that point, the officer can turn off the ATM, so that the criminals will not be able to copy information or install any malware on the ATM computer.

Howbeit, modern video surveillance systems are able to protect both from physical and a range of logical attacks. A good number of ATM anti-skimming devices and anti skimming technologies like white noise generators can be installed as additional ATM skimming prevention tools.

Note that these tools stop data transmission from the magnetic stripe and card readers to the attackers. This is a critical element of ATM physical security used to protect user’s bank card data and prevent skimming attacks.

  1. Face Detection And Recognition

ATM Cameras or Modern video surveillance systems provide a face detection function. It analyses whether there actually is anybody in front of a self-service device during the transaction. And if the face is not detected the ATM does not cash out. This reduces the risk of some fraudulent actions.

Also, note that face recognition is the next step in modern video surveillance solutions. It can be leveraged as a factor or as a full-fledged way of authorization of ATM users, service personnel, and CIT officers. It also links the user’s face with their transaction, so banks can find all transactions in which certain individuals were involved.

  1. Data Security

ATM Cameras more or less help associate a transaction with a photo or video. The camera records everything that is happening in front of it during ATM transactions. Note that all recorded photos or videos are stored on an ATM, so bank employees are expected to have physical access to ATMs to get this information.

In event of a dispute, they have to go to the ATM, copy the files and bring them to the security office. Note that this increases the incident response time and if the bank has a need to process information from several ATMs, the time increases in proportion to the number of terminals. Another problem is that data may be deleted during ATM maintenance.

Comprehensive video surveillance solves the problem of data storage. The centralized management system allows banks to gather information from all of their ATMs and store it on a well-protected bank server. The data can be stored on the server for a long time. In some countries, this period is regulated by law.

As the ever-escalating arms race between ATM security professionals and criminals continues, customers will find themselves urged to use increasingly advanced security methods to identify themselves at ATMs. However, the modern video surveillance solutions increase the basic level of self-service devices protection, provide proactive ATM protection, simplify access to video when resolving disputes, and optimize operating with large amounts of transaction data.

Joy Nwokoro