Thursday, 17 February 2011

When is it no longer worth investing in physical security at an ATM?

Just saw a press article from IOL News in South Africa entitled 'Gone in six minutes'.  In a nutshell criminals attacked an ATM on a petrol station forecourt - they drove up in a car and five armed and hooded men jumped out armed with assault rifles and handguns.  Some of them took up military style fire positions, while others held up staff and planted the explosives.  They must have got the quantity right because the ATM was blown open but not destroyed.........the money was then grabbed and the armed gang were off in six minutes.

So what to do to prevent this form of attack? Whatever degree of standard physical security measures were in place, the explosives took care of them.   The alarm was irrelevant (if in place) because the attack was overt and the attackers were ready to fight.  Perhaps a banknote degradation system would have had a deterrent effect - but then maybe not, as there is still some residual face value for a stained banknote.  It's an interesting one.  If an armed response unit had turned up, would they have taken on the attackers?  I hope not.  Can you imagine the collateral risks associated with a gun battle in a petrol station?

So what do you do to mitigate risk for this form of attack?  I have to admit that I'm struggling to think of a solution, as even placing armed guards would not make much sense in a petrol station.  Perhaps a note staining solution with a unique marker (artificial DNA or unique chemical taggant) in the ink is a possible answer, for deterrence at least.  At least then the Police have a chance of tracing back recovered banknotes to the crime, and proving an evidential connection.  That would increase the risks for the criminals, but might not deter all attacks.

No, I reckon well trained armed gangs driving around perpetrating this form of crime is perhaps no longer a matter for industry security specialists, but is an issue for the Government and society.  Until that's resolved, maybe ATMs should no longer be installed in this type of location in South Africa?

See the full news story here

No comments:

Post a Comment