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ATM Surveillance Methods Explained

Nanjing Yuantuo Tech : 21 June, 2010  (Special Report)
Surveillance equipment manufacturer uses question and answer method of explaining the way that ATM surveillance systems are typically set up to reduce crime and prevent fraud
With ATM crime on the increase, every bank has strengthened the power of video surveillance for ATMs with more special monitoring systems. However, many problems can occur and cause confusion to banks and contractors due to the differences between ATM and standard surveillance. Nanjing Yuantuo Tech has therefore provided a question and answer guide to enable installers and users of ATM surveillance to get the best from their systems.

Q1: What should the camera's field of view include and how many cameras are needed?
A: The working area should include the front face view of the ATM user, the banknote output feed and the note issuing mechanism. The face camera is used to observe the cardholders or the criminal. The camera covering the note feed observes the removal or attempted removal of banknotes and the camera for the note issuing mechanism watches the action of assignment of banknotes. These last two cameras are often switched automatically so the actual recording should be with 2 channels while fitted with 3 cameras. However, with the change of the financial security situation, public security departments have recently made a requirement for 5 cameras covering the area surrounding the ATM. This means that 2 more camera channels are necessary for covering the surrounding area (each covers 90 degrees of angle so 2 channels covers 180 degree) to enable full coverage. This requirement came about for enabling the collection of further evidence for crime detection.

Q2: Why should the image of PIN pad be shielded?
A: Most cameras which cover the banknote issuing process can obtain an image of the pad due to the configuration of the ATM. As a result, PIN input images can be recorded. Therefore, in order to prevent bank employees from committing fraud, the PIN pad image must be shielded.

Q3: Why is the card number overlaid on the image alongside the time and date of transaction?
The bank card number is overlaid onto the image of the cardholder so that it can be directly proven that there is a correct match between the cardholder and the person withdrawing notes. This can be used in court for proving the unauthorized use of cards. Having the bank card number overlaid on the video image also enables easy parametric or metadata searches on archived video to facilitate easy location of historic data even several months after the transaction took place.

Q4: How is the card number obtained?
Most systems now use embedded hardware to read from the card reader which removes the security threats associated with using software.

Q5: Why are some banks fitting SMS alarm modules?
A: SMS Alarm Modules have been shown to provide advantages relating to real-time reaction, cost-savings and convenience. The alarm can be sent to someone's mobile phone once there is attack against an ATM resulting in immediate action being taken.

Q6: Why are some ATM systems fitted with emergency call buttons and what is the function of these?
A: Conveniently located panic buttons have been added to some systems to enable bank customers to alert security if they feel the presence of danger. The function of the emergency call button includes the activation of sound and light alarms, calling security personnel and establishing a voice link.

Q7: How are system crashes of the surveillance network handled?
A: System failure can occur regardless of whether a PC or an embedded system is used as the host and this can result in interruptions to evidence gathering. Most banks don't permit ATM surveillance systems to be connected to the bank network. This can cause problems in terms of the two systems being interlocked, for example to prevent ATM operation if the surveillance system is inoperative. To overcome this, a special host watchdog can be fitted to the ATM, which can cut off and switch on the power for the surveillance host. If the watchdog can't restart the host, it can energize the alarm system to notify maintenance personnel.

Q8: What triggers the recording function of the ATM?
Q: ATMs mostly use human activity detection, vibration detection or a vibration sensor with support for image motion detection in order to trigger recording.

Q9: What is done to prevent the cameras from being obscured by criminals?
A: As ATM surveillance is becoming more widely used, many criminals also know that the equipment is fitted with surveillance systems and they try to shield the cameras. In this instance, the alarm is raised. Partial shielding is also sometimes used in order to compromise the surveillance system. To prevent this, human activity detectors and image motion detectors are used.

Q10: Why is the image of the cardholder combined with the image of the banknote output when recording?
A: This is done to prevent fraudulent disputes and prevents pleas being made in court regarding separate recordings. Combining the cardholder image with the banknote output image enables direct and effective evidence to be presented in the case of fraudulent disputes.
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