New deterrant to counter increase in ATM attacks

Innovative companies have joined forces to create a new deterrent to attacks on ATMs which are costing millions of Euros and endangering lives.

In 2018 – according to the European Association of Secure Transactions (EAST) – there was a 27% increase on physical attacks resulting in losses to banks of €36 million.

That figure does not include the cost of the collateral damage to equipment or buildings, caused by an explosion, gas attack, ram raid or burglary, which – according to EAST – can often exceed the value of cash lost in successful attacks.

The traditional anti-theft device, such as Intelligent Banknote Neutralisation Systems (IBNS) which are fitted into an estimated 95% of all ATMs, is proving less of a deterrent as criminals have found ways to spend or launder stolen bank notes even when they are stained with indelible ink.

But Mactwin – one of the leading innovators in cash security – has now launched a new deterrent product called GlueFusion. In the event of an attack, it causes the separate banknotes inside an ATM cash cassette to be rapidly and insolubly glued together.  The resulting brick of banknotes is worthless, says Mactwin, as it is impossible to separate them without shredding the

A key component for this technology is provided by Chemring Energetics UK (CEUK), which is based in Ardeer in Scotland. It supplies the device – a Metron – which activates the GlueFusion process. Despite being just a few centimetres long, Metrons generate incredible and immediate energy when the non-hazardous pyrotechnic materials it contains undergo a rapid expansion within milliseconds of receiving an electrical impulse.

“Metrons are incredibly effective and – because they deliver a faultless performance – they are used where there is no time for a second go,” said Mikhael Dzagoev of CEUK. Robin Bijland, the Chief Technology Officer at Mactwin, said: “The reliability and instantaneous reaction of the Metron are fundamental to the effectiveness of GlueFusion.”

He added: “Removing the potential and expectation of a reward is always the best security measure. In order to irreversibly degrade cash, the physical properties – i.e. size and weight – of the banknotes need to be changed.

“There’s not a cashier or automated payment centre in the world that will accept these shreds or brick of worthless paper. Provided the ATM is equipped with proper and fast detection systems – and the GlueFusion cash degradation module – an attack will be completely futile.”

CEUK has produced around six million Metrons since they were first developed in the 1970s. They have been an integral part of IBNS systems in ATMs across the world and are widely used in safety critical environments, such as fire suppressant systems – particularly on buses – and air crew ejector seats. Metrons are also deployed on the Boeing Dreamliner passenger aircraft to activate oxygen supplies in the event of an emergency.

“This is technology which has demonstrated its value over 50 years,” said Mr Dzagoev . “Metrons are used in different systems across a wide range of sectors but always provide CEUK’s customers with the certainty that they will do what they are meant to do.”

Those CEUK customers now include conservations. They use animal tracking collars fitted with a Metron to safely release the device when they need to retrieve data.