Criminals Use Explosives to Crack Open ATMs; 492 Attacked So Far

Forget ATM malware, criminals are using explosive to crack ATM machines and steal thousands of Euros in Europian countries.

It is definitely startling to know that crooks have become so desperate that they have returned to old-school tactics for raking in large sums of money. Reportedly, around 492 ATMs all across Europe have been attacked by criminals using explosives mainly involving gas.

This figure is quite shocking because it shows an 80% increment in such attacks compared to last year’s figures from the European ATM Security Team (EAST). In 2015, the number of attacks on ATMs using explosives was 273 during the initial six months of the year. This year, it has jumped to 492.


EAST reports that these attacks have cumulatively inferred losses of EUR 16,600 excluding the collateral damage caused by the machines, other equipment, and buildings. It has been revealed that solid explosives were used to blow up 110 machines while a majority of attacks involved the use of gas.

According to the executive director at EAST, Lachlan Gunn, this increment in explosive attacks is quite concerning for the banking industry in Europe because “such attacks create a significant amount of collateral damage to equipment and buildings as well as a risk to life Gunn further added that the EAST Expert Group on Physical Attacks has been working on analyzing the attacks and to implement best intelligence practices throughout the industry and the law enforcement to mitigate such threats.


It must be noted that in Europe, the number of overall ATM fraud attacks has increased considerably during the first half of 2016. In 2016, the European banking industry experienced a total of 1,604 attacks on ATMs and this is only the H1 figure of 2016. This shows a 30% increase in the previously documented figures of 2015, which were 1,232 attacks in H1. The total losses caused by these physical attacks stand at €27m, around 3% more in comparison to the year 2015 figure of €26.3m. These figures, however, do not include collateral damages to the equipment and buildings.

The following countries, with an estimated total installed base of 367,423 ATMs, supplied full or partial information for this report:

”Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Ireland; Italy; Liechtenstein; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Portugal; Romania; Slovakia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; United Kingdom.”

It is also a fact that the attempts of cracking cash machines through malware are also on the rise in Western Europe but the frequency of such attacks is still very low if compared to physical attacks on ATMs. Currently, Russia and Mexico are the hot spots for malware attacks on ATMs.

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