ATMs might be at risk of another virus attack

ATMs will become increasingly insecure unless the banking industry changes its mindset, observers have warned.

"There's an attitude of 'I'm isolated, I'm not at risk'," said Todd Thiemann, director of security device marketing at Trend Micro. "But as ATMs migrate from IBM OS/2 to Windows, they potentially come under threat."

Thiemann said the likelihood of a repeat of the Slammer virus, which affected 13,000 Bank of America ATMs, will increase. With IBM discontinuing IBM OS/2 by 2006, banks are rapidly migrating to Microsoft Windows and IP networks.

"As far as I'm aware, all new ATMs run on Windows," said Michael Lee, CEO of the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA). "The business opportunities this offers are great, and weigh up favourably against the security risks."

The industry says that any potential problems are under control. According to figures released at the fourth annual ATMIA security conference, attacks against ATMs in eight major European countries this year have resulted in a $57 million loss. But less than one percent of that was through cybercrime.

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