The Siangsui company (Taiwan) provides a very powerful RF detector (first image) for ATMs and the technology could benefit by techniques described in the patent (second image). The full patent may be viewed in a PDF file (658k).
A combination of old and new technology can become a threat as cell phones include more features. An old Modem connected to a card reader and output through the text messaging can transmit the card data while a Video Cam transmits the Keypad PIN number. This technique will not require the Cell phone be turned on all the time, only when a customer walks up to the ATM, the intrusion cell phone receives the call (no ring), sends the information and hangs up when the transaction capture is complete.
Newer electronics does not require the wireless transmitter to be close to the keypad to capture the PIN number, the camera can be many feet away with an improved lens and see just fine, the next generation camera will use other frequencies (433Mhz to 5.8GHZ) and will be more difficult to detect. A device to be concerned with is the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) which will capture the motion of a hand and only record when motion is detected. Same with the Card Swipe Recorder. An Anti-Skimming device must be able to detect BOTH transmitter and non-transmitter in the area.
Fuzzy logic could be applied to the sensor detection, so that normal activity would not trip the alarm, but unusual activity would create a minor alarm (like a light bulb burnt out). A combination sensor trip would raise a more serious alarm (robbery in progress). The alarm can be constructed to be remotely updatable (programmed via the 3DES channel) like the cell phones when service is started or transferred. In this way, at every customer inquiry, the alarm is checked for operation and version.
Convenience stores have been hit after hours with a stolen pickup truck and a length of chain. The thief crashes through the door, ties the chain around the ATM and drags it off ( < 20 seconds), so they can take their time to break into the money safe. February 2, 2007 on the Today Show (NBC) showed several methods of this technique. Dallas, TX had 8 of these robberies last month and 77 last year! A solution for this is to attach a locator (like a cell phone with GPS that automatically dials if the power is disconnected and a vibration alarm is tripped). Think of a service like On-Star.
Another solution might be similar to an aircraft crash beacon, which begins transmitting upon collision. The rescue crew (authorities) use a receiver with direction finding equipment. This could be enhanced by an alarm dialer installed outside of the ATM to alert the officials to the probability that a beacon will help them find the criminals. This would aid in faster recovery and make this crime less profitable by not allowing enough time to break into the ATM safe. Either locator would require the electronics to be installed inside the protected box with the antennae(s) outside the box in a protected plastic enclosure.
The locator equipment is available now. Cell phones are smarter, the Boost system uses a "where are you" technology and several other systems allow parential opportunities for monitoring their kids (ATMs) locations. Even a walkie talkie can be modified to pulse transmit a beacon upon receiving an alarm like a cheaper version of the Aircraft Down Beacon. Perhaps a warning sign on most vulnerable ATMs with actual locator transmitters installed in only 20% would be a deterrant.
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