ADT launches 'Anti-Skim' solution for ATMs

ADT Business Solutions announced on Monday that it has launched a new solution to protect banks and their customers against the growing threat of ATM skimming

According to Tracie Gerstenberg, business development manager for financial services at ADT, the Anti-Skim ATM Security Kit is a standalone hardware-based solution that can detect foreign objects placed in and around a card reader.

When a skimming device is detected, the kit, which consists of a small control panel installed inside the ATM, triggers an alarm that can generate audible and visual warnings on the control unit. In addition, the anti-skim kit also emits a magnetic pulse that prevents the skimming device from reading a cardholder's financial data. The kit can also be integrated with a bank's alarm and video surveillance systems, which can help law enforcement track down the perpetrator thereby adding an additional layer of security for the user.

Gerstenberg said that about 150 kits have already been deployed.

"It really protects the integrity of cardholders' information and that should be the bank's priority," she said.

Although the company has offered other anti-skimming solutions in the past, Gerstenberg said the new kit stands out due to its flexibility.

"This particular solution fits every make and model of ATM and also works with every card reader type," she explained. "That flexibility was a huge benefit to us, as well as some of feature functionality. We wanted to be able to offer a lower investment solution with more features."

While anti-skimming solutions have been around for some time, Gerstenberg said that banks have been slow in adopting the technology.

"Honestly, I think that the technology has always been there. It's the financial institutions who have delayed responding to the crime," she said. "Financial institutions are typically reactive as opposed to proactive. Many customers I deal with wait until they have been physically attacked with a skimmer before they deploy technology."

As the losses associated with these skimming incidents have risen, however, banks are now looking to stop them before they occur. According to Gerstenberg, skimming losses, which costs U.S. banks about $1 billion annually, now average nearly $50,000 per incident not including the time it will take to notify affected customers and investigate.

"I think it's finally getting banks' attention... it's starting to hit their pocket books," she said.

The fact remains, however, that despite advances in technology criminals will continue to target ATMs due to their easy of accessibility.

"Unfortunately, (criminals) are one step ahead of us with their technology," Gerstenberg said. "I would love to know what the next step is, but hopefully it won't involve the card reader."