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Guest Post

Digital transformation helps organizations fight crime

Organizations can implement IoT technology -- including video surveillance cameras, electronic locks and seismic detectors -- to protect their machines from physical attacks.

It's no secret that organizations worldwide are embracing the benefits of IoT across their infrastructure.

Around the world, businesses use the power of network-connected devices to improve customer engagement, deliver remote services and support work-from-home processes. IoT has brought a plethora of functionality to businesses and benefits to consumers. It seems that, at the end of the day, anything is possible with connections.

Although IoT has been a hot topic in technology circles for two decades, it's just coming of age today in many world markets. For instance, many financial innovations have successfully used IoT, such as point-of-sale devices like Square. Greater adoption is right around the corner.

Take ATMs, for example. Did you know that there are more than 3.5 million cash machines across the globe? And more so, did you know they are more intelligent than ever before? They are not just standalone machines anymore -- they are smart connected devices in IoT. The services these technologies provide have become increasingly sophisticated, delivering far more benefits than dispensing cash. As these devices increase in sophistication, connectivity allows providers to put them out into new and interesting locations and offer more services. They're not just owned and operated by banks, either, but by a wide range of independent ATM providers in airports, shopping malls and convenience stores.

As the use of and services delivered by ATMs increase, so do risks. ATM crime has risen throughout the past few years. Criminal acts against ATMs -- and the customers using them -- have always been a top concern for financial institutions. They have deployed video surveillance cameras, electronic locks, seismic detectors and other physical security controls to make the ATM a secure place for banking transactions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the door to opportunistic criminals who have developed a new way to breach ATMs. Given their low-risk and high-reward nature, instances of ATM hook-and-chain attacks -- attacks where criminals drive up to an ATM and attach a chain to it -- are growing across the country. In early 2020, there were reports of increased ATM thefts in St. Louis, Chicago, Baltimore and other major cities. Additionally, we saw the bombing of ATMs in Florida.

These somewhat simplistic crimes lead to a significant loss. ATM attack perpetrators cause damage to ATMs and surrounding structures that cost as much as $45,000. If successful, the bad actors can get away with upward of $150,000 in cash. Those numbers don’t take into account the value of the ATM itself.

Thankfully, there are ways to combat these attacks. Unsurprisingly, it's a mix of technology, IoT and processes that will change the outcome of these events. The organized nature of ATM attacks, and many other security threats, is sophisticated and makes a layered approach to security more critical. The perpetrators of these attacks hit their targets quickly and get out; that's why it's imperative to have a holistic security approach that mitigates these risks before they can cause damage. It's no longer viable to rely on traditional security methods on their own. Criminals are becoming more sophisticated, and banking security must follow suit to protect the bottom line.

While the global pandemic has changed the social, business and economic landscape, it has also provided the prime opportunity for bad actors to take advantage of the new remote work landscape. Some organizations may be closed or have limited staffing. As businesses look to embrace digital transformation in the wake of COVID-19, they are also scrutinizing these strategies and asking stakeholders to rethink how technology can help them navigate and adapt to the new risk landscape.

Part of the reason for reevaluating plans is due to the pandemic's effect on business. No one could have imagined how it would affect businesses worldwide, and leaders want to ensure their teams are ready for any further operational disruption. Simply planning for and instituting steps toward digitalization isn't necessarily a blueprint for success, but businesses with comprehensive plans are in a stronger position to withstand disruption.

IoT enhances an organization's ability to mitigate the increasingly significant threat of fraud and cyber-risks. While emerging risks -- such as the hook-and-chain attacks -- will remain a threat, the world of connected devices will play an essential role in reducing these threats. It has become increasingly clear that connections, intelligence and communications will be the key to future success for many organizations as they develop processes to protect their assets, customers and employees. IoT will drive further capabilities and only time will show what those will be.

About the author
Matt Tengwall is general manager of Verint fraud and security solutions. Before this role, he served as vice president of sales in the North American market for Verint. Over the course of his career, he has focused on building strong strategic partnerships and alliances, creative sales strategies, and educational tools for customers.

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