The basic function of automated teller machines is to accept a cash demand from a client by verifying their authority to access a certain bank account. Of course, they need to have their resources on the account and available in the machine and all this without assistance from a bank employee. The first one was used 50 years ago, and a lot of things have changed from then.
Nowadays, almost every business owner can order an ATM machine for their company if they need it. Back in the days, it wasn’t even safe to use them because we didn’t have plastic cards instead people used a piece of paper that had something printed on it witch was slightly radioactive. It would match the pattern that was printed to a code that the user enters in order to verify them.
They now operate on a much safer level where we have plastic cards with needed information about our account. They have a reader that scans the chip or magnetic strip and gets the data needed for us to withdraw cash or make a deposit. Of course, we still need to use our PIN to access these options which is just another safety precaution.
When you enter the PIN, you have many options besides depositing and withdrawing like checking the balance and making certain requests from the bank. Every model is connected to the internet or phone cable when they are at the bank so they can check if the funds are available in real time.
Because they can be considered mini vaults, it brings attention to criminals that usually don’t have too much success with it. This was maybe an option a few decades ago when the security was at a low level but nowadays you would need heavy machinery to do it. Even when you want to rent one and place it to sit in a certain place, they are really heavy to be carried that easily.
Besides being heavy, they have a couple of cameras that constantly record for evidence. This is the reason why many thieves are going after your credit cards as a safer option, so they place their own cameras that are hidden in order to collect data. The plastic panels can seem normal at the first glance but that’s what they want you to think. Read more on this link.
These extra attachments are called skimmers and they are meant to collect your name, expiration date, CVV number and card number. Some of them even use thermal cameras to see the 4-digit PIN but it can be hard to know the correct sequence. This is why added phone verification is also a great way to be secure.
You probably heard of many stories where hackers attacked them, but it doesn’t happen that often. They would have to find a hidden USB port if they are able to access the outer casings which are in many cases impossible. They would be able to install the malicious program with a USB and take control.
Getting to the USB port is almost impossible because most of the models are mounted on the wall or in the store. Hacking is also very hard because there are constantly new updates that are one step ahead as soon as something new comes up to their mind. Hackers will probably always try to find new methods and professionals in this industry will have to keep us safe.
How To Be Safe?
A great thing is that theft and fraud can be completely stopped if you invest a bit in your security. It’s also very important where they are located because areas around the banks are usually heavily guarded. You would want to check with your bank when it comes to these safety features. Use indoor ATMs and check if there are some parts that don’t look familiar or are loose.
Always cover the keypad when you are entering the PIN so no one can see you enter it. If you can have a phone app where you will need to verify the transaction, which would be the best possible option. You will have to enter the PIN and verify on the phone but also cover the card for absolute protection. This is usually done when you are traveling.