About €27 million was stolen by crooks physically assaulting ATMs during the first half.
About €27 million was stolen by crooks physically assaulting ATMs during the first half.

The increasing security provided by EMV, or chip cards, may be compelling European criminals to eschew the use of malware in favor of explosives to steal money from ATMs.

A report by the European ATM Security Team (EAST) found that while fraud-type attacks increased 28 percent during the first half of 2016 with cybercriminals stealing €174 million, attacks using explosives or other physical means increased 30 percent during the same period. About €27 million was taken with the latter style attacks.

“A conclusion could be that because of the impact of EMV (Chip and PIN) criminals are seeking other ways to profit from the ATM channel rather than card skimming, which include both physical and logical attacks, Lacklan Gunn, EAST's executive director, told SCMagazine.com in an emailed comment.

EAST noted that despite the uptick, non-physical attacks are about seven times more prevalent with 10,820 ATM incidents taking pace during the first six months of this year, compared to 1,604 physical assaults. During the first half of 2015, there were 8,420 ATM related fraud attacks and 1,232 physical attacks. The average amount stolen per physical attack, which can be made using explosives, a vehicle ramming the ATM or another form of robbery averages about €17,000, the report stated, but this does not include the cost of collateral damage “which can be significant and often exceeds the value of the cash lost in successful attacks,” the report stated.

Most of the fraud increase was primarily due to a 281 percent increase in n Transaction Reversal Fraud. When it came to the common skimming-type attacks there was some good and bad news. The number of such attacks decreased 21 percent, but the amount of money stolen using these scams increased by 8 percent, EAST reported.