500,000 Chinese ATM machines ripe for Israeli security

Fresh off a mission protecting fans at the World Cup, RISCO will now protect cash machines in China

ATM machines in China (Photo credit: Emmaliveai)
ATM machines in China (Photo credit: Emmaliveai)

Technology from Israeli security firm RISCO will protect cash machines in the biggest ATM market of them all — China, where 100,000 new ones were installed in just the past year. Under a deal RISCO signed with several Chinese banks, tens of thousands of ATMs there will be equipped with sensors that can alert security personnel if someone is trying to steal money by methods ranging from little taps to explosives.

RISCO will install sensors that can detect suspicious behavior at ATMs, the company said. In a take-off on old-time pinball games, some customers apparently believe that a cash machine will give a little more cash if they “give it some English” — knock it on top or on the side — or otherwise attempt to mess with its mechanism in the hope that they will get more than the bank signed up for. One type of RISCO sensor to be installed on the Chinese ATM machines will detect and report on that kind of behavior, alerting authorities when a customer is attempting to “coax” the machine into spitting out extra cash.

The second and more sophisticated sensor is RISCO’s Seismic Detector — a device that can monitor and detect a wide range of hijack attempts, from drilling to explosives to sledge hammers and pressure tools, as well as attacks that try to use sudden drastic changes in temperature to crack open a machine’s casing and get to the cash. The Seismic Detector senses even small anomalies that do not fit the profile of a customer’s use of ATMs for withdrawal or deposit.

The deals signed by RISCO with Chinese banks and financial services organizations (the company did not disclose which ones) will entail installation of the systems on tens of thousands of ATMs, but by Chinese standards, that’s still considered a “pilot program.” According to a report by UK-based analysts RBR (Retail Banking Research), In 2013 China became the world’s largest ATM market. Up to now, the report noted, the Chinese have preferred to withdraw cash directly from their banks — but in the past few years, as credit cards have become popular in China, ATMs have become the preferred method of obtaining cash. There are about 520,000 ATMs in the country, and hundreds more are added every day.

RISCO is considered one of Israel’s premier security firms. Recently the company’s technology was one of a handful chosen to provide security service for the World Cup games in Brazil. Officials at the new $300 million Arena Pantanal in Cuiabal used RISCO’s Command and Control solution to secure the hundreds of doors and turnstiles in the arena, providing protection from unauthorized entry and counterfeit tickets.

RISCO has had a presence in China for well over a decade and has developed security projects for numerous Chinese banks. RISCO has successfully competed in China despite the fact that the company’s prices are consistently undercut by local firms, said Hemy Fintsy, vice-president of marketing at RISCO. “The Chinese market is very price-conscious and we have a lot of competition. As an international brand manufacturing quality equipment and developing high-level technology, we serve the upper end of the market. Thus our competitors are not the local companies, but international firms like Siemens, Bosch, and Honeywell,” he said.

“China is an important market for RISCO, and we have put a great deal of effort into building our position there, specializing in large projects,” said Fintsy. “China is growing rapidly and there are many opportunities for us. More companies in China than ever are choosing us for our superior technology and high quality of work. We expect our engagement with the Chinese market to continue growing in the coming years.”

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