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Terminal fraud attacks in Europe drop during Covid-19

Source: European Association for Secure Transactions

The European Association for Secure Transactions (East) has just published a European Payment Terminal Crime Report covering 2020 which shows that terminal related fraud attacks have dropped significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Terminal related fraud attacks were down 64% (from 18,217 to 6,523 incidents). Card skimming fell to another all-time low (down from 1,496 to 656 incidents) and transaction reversal fraud (TRF) at ATMs decreased by 97% (down from 9,054 to just 250 incidents). Total losses of €218 million were reported, down 14% from the €249 million reported during 2019. Most losses remain international issuer losses due to card skimming, which were €183 million.

EAST Executive Director Lachlan Gunn said, “2020 was a highly unusual year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and crime and fraud patterns changed accordingly. While it is good news to see such a significant fall in terminal fraud attacks, there is concern that explosive attacks at ATMs have only fallen by 6%, and that related losses are up by 39%. The average cash loss for a solid explosive attack is estimated at €28,218, and collateral damage to equipment and buildings can be significant. There are also major safety issues. Despite national lockdowns and border closures, mobile organised crime groups continued to operate across Europe.”

ATM related physical attacks were down 19% (from 4,571 to 3,722 incidents). Attacks due to ram raids and ATM burglary were down 33% (from 1,122 to 749 incidents). ATM explosive attacks (including explosive gas and solid explosive attacks) were down 6% (from 977 to 923 incidents). Losses due to ATM related physical attacks were €22.4 million, a 1% increase from the €22.1 million reported during 2019. 47% of these losses were due to explosive attacks, which were up 39% from €10.49 to €14.59 million.

ATM malware and logical attacks against ATMs were up 44% (from 35 to 129) and all 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, in order to ‘cash-out’ or ‘jackpot’ the ATM. Related losses were up 14% from €1.09 to €1.24 million. Most such attacks remain unsuccessful. 

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