European banks warned: brace for rise in cash machine fraud

Banks are likely to see cash-machine fraud rise unless steps are taken to improve their cash-machine infrastructure, the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has warned.

ENISA said banks are currently at a "delicate transition stage" whereby overlooking the risks to automated teller machines (ATMs) means losing ground in a critical fight that is important to every nation's economic system.

Generally speaking, once ATMs installed, they are poorly managed and rarely updated, according to the , released Monday.

European banks in 22 countries lost a collective €485 million [m] due to ATM fraud in 2008, according to figures released earlier this year from the (EAST), a nonprofit group composed of financial institutions and law enforcement.

A total of 12,278 attacks were reported on ATMs, which represented a 149 percent increased over 2007, EAST said. The most common attack was "skimming," or attaching equipment to an ATM that records a card's magnetic stripe and then using surreptitious means to capture a person's PIN (Personal Identification Number). Then, a blank ATM card can be programmed with those details and used for fraudulent transactions.

Close to €400 million [m] (US$695) of the fraud occurred outside the country was the card was issued. That's because around 90 percent of European banks now use chip-and-PIN cards, also known as EMV cards, where the ATM, as well as most point-of-sale devices, check to see if the card has a special microchip.