Security for Banking 2022

21.11.2022 - Banking fraud like ‘ram-raiding’ in banks, driving an SUV through the window and chaining it to the ATM to tow it away, or filling the machine with gas and igniting it from a ‘safe’ distance, crimes like these become more common in the banking industry. GIT SECURITY reports on the latest options to secure banks and threats.

Protecting Bank Offices, Branches and Assets is an Uninterrupted Challenge in 2022. Details provided by the Deutsche Bundesbank (German national bank) show that the number of branch offices reduced significantly by almost 10 % in 2021. As in the previous year, the Corona pandemic and the increasing use of online banking by customers have had a catalysing effect. A continual program of cost reduction has inevitably meant the closure of many smaller, ‘unprofitable’ branches, while the transformation from personal service to largely self-service locations has already been in full swing for a couple of decades and appears to be accelerating.

Ink Cartridge in ATMs that Ruptures to Stain Banknotes

The resultant proliferation of ‘hole-in-the-wall’ ATMs brought a new type of crime to the fore, internationally, that of blasting cash dispensing machines apart to steal the money within. The methods used by these well-organized and internationally active criminals vary from cumbersome and crude – like driving an SUV through the window and chaining it to the ATM to tow it away – to downright devious – like filling the machine with gas and igniting it from a ‘safe’ distance. In both cases, significant physical damage is caused, and more than one crook has been injured by his own dirty deed in the process. Much worse, the lives of innocent people are put at risk.

So a combination of physical and technical solutions is required to combat these ham-fisted attempts to steal cash. New cash machines are nowadays encased in a shell of reinforced concrete and fitted with an ink cartridge that ruptures to stain the banknotes if there is an explosion. The cost of these measures is, however, not commercially viable for every location.

Preventing a vehicle from even reaching the vicinity of an ATM can be easily achieved by fitting (retractable) bollards in the way that is designed for the job. New Zealand and Australia are currently going through a phase of increased ‘ram-raiding’ of shops and banks – very successfully from the thieves' point of view – mainly because the bollards and shutters that have been installed so far are too flimsy. BGI Europe, based in Athens, has a range of protection-rated electric/pneumatic bollards that not only look good but also reliably prevent vehicles from getting past. Bollards certified in accordance with the international ASTM2656, PAS68 and IWA14 security standards are also available from Tiso in Ukraine. Their range includes fixed, manual, or automatic bollards as well as road-blocking ramps or ‘cyclops’ vehicle stoppers. Both manufacturers can link their installations to various third-party trigger systems such as video surveillance or alarms.
Another method of preventing ‘ram-raiding’ is to fit resistant shutters behind or, preferably, in front of windows. Lockdown Shutters manufacture tailor-made solutions that support further measures to prevent vehicles from entering buildings. Anti-ram-raid shutters and grilles are also manufactured by System 2000 in the UK.

Simple Intrusion Prevention: Bright Lights

In the case of ‘conventional’ break-ins – illegal personal entry to the property – microwave, ultrasonic, or infra-red motion detectors as well as hidden contacts, invisible beams or video analytics can all detect someone where they are not supposed to be (refer also to the comprehensive GIT SECURITY video analytics test in our last issue). The Japanese Optex Group has a wide range of sensors that use a variety of detection methods as part of a complete building security solution to discover uninvited guests. Sensor solutions from Honeywell Security also include methods to counter attempts to put the sensors themselves out of action. Their range includes long-range and dual-technology detection, together with comprehensive, multi-faceted security solutions.
Sometimes ‘simple’ is also an effective deterrent, for example, a system that just switches on bright lights when motion is detected out of hours – thieves prefer not to be seen. Also ask a gardener to plant some dense, spiky bushes outside vulnerable windows – thieves may arrive equipped with glass cutters or hacksaws, but they probably won’t have brought grandma’s secateurs with them!

Emergency Notification and Crisis Management During Opening Hours

Banks are constantly reminding us in their advertising that they are open and welcoming, which inevitably means open front doors – with all the security risks that that presents. So the public areas require no access control while administrative areas must remain secure even when the front door is wide open. Although it is unlikely that Bonnie and Clyde will storm in, guns blazing, to get their sacks filled with cash, bank robberies may still happen ninety years later, so silent and secret alarms are a fundamental necessity. The Munich-based F24 Group specialize in providing just such emergency notification as well as crisis management services internationally to certified standards.
Of course, access to parking, lifts, and staff lockers must also be considered. In addition, banks have to comply with the relevant national identity verification regulations regarding access to data, cash systems and IT hardware. Ideally, this is all discreet as well. Conventional access control with enhanced security measures solves this apparent contradiction while validating staff, monitoring movement, and completely controlling access to rooms, areas, and equipment. Cards and fobs carried by staff are versatile and easily managed for example, while secondary validation techniques such as fingerprint or iris scanners may be incorporated into the management platform. Stanley Security conceives a tailor-made system for their clients that fulfills their customers’ requirements while also taking the specific physical building attributes and assets into account. Their comprehensive solution will ensure the full integration of video surveillance, intruder detection and access control as well as robbery alarms and fire detection. Genetec’s Security Center is a unified security platform that merges IP security systems into one intuitive platform, combining video monitoring, access control, license plate recognition, intrusion detection, and analytics into one solution. Their dedicated solutions for the banking industry cover every requirement of security, connectivity, and management.

Visually Impenetrable Barrier: Flood the Bank with Safety Smoke

If, despite all measures, we are not able to keep intruders out of a bank branch, or assailants taking action during opening hours, then we can make life extremely difficult for them by suddenly reducing their visibility so much that they cannot act as planned. Concept Smoke Screens can provide extremely quick-acting and effective fog machines that flood the property with harmless, dense smoke. To quote their website: “Security fog is a non-violent, confrontational, visually impenetrable barrier”. Smartek’s Nubi 4.0 generates a safety smoke screen, blurs the visibility, and creates a very hostile environment for thieves whose first priority will then be to make a rapid getaway. The Concept control units of these systems coupled with alarms of all sorts, and have IP connectivity for status monitoring and activation while Smartek’s also integrates with alarm systems and have a wireless option.

Multi-Site Security Management

Centralized management and supervision of branches is relatively simple to realize these days. Providing the right tools to ensure the security of a branch without any loopholes though requires careful planning and implementation. The integrated multi-site security management platform from Pacom provides integration between access control, alarm monitoring, video surveillance, elevators, intercoms, fire alarms, building automation, and any other relevant systems. Intelligent self-testing, component redundancy, multiple back-ups, and remote disaster recovery keep the centralized operator’s workload light.
Together with its commercial partners, the Swedish manufacturer Axis Communications supplies comprehensive security solutions worldwide that are built around their video surveillance and image analysis equipment. Their analytics package can, for example, even track the amount of time an object remains in a particular area, which might highlight some devious deed in progress. Using the Optimizer accessory, the company’s products can also be deeply integrated into an overarching video management system such as XProtect from Milestone Systems. Amongst many others, this has the added advantage of being able to detect and deter intruders and suspicious behavior, managing personnel, and vehicle access, as well as visualizing the input from over 10,000 other compatible third-party products.

While Bonnie and Clyde got their comeuppance during a carefully-planned police operation back in 1934, there will most likely not be a similar scenario anytime soon. The onus these days is very much on the bank’s own security team and the ATM operators themselves to prevent crime, rather than the police chasing the villains off down the street. The technology is available today to reach a very high degree of protection against misdeeds and, together with the advice of the partner company of your choice, it can provide safety and security for staff, equipment, and assets. Some potential suppliers are shown below.

Author: David Jayne


Axis Communications AB

Gränden 1
223 69 Lund

+46 46 272 18 00
+46 46 13 61 30


2280 Alfred-Nobel Blvd.
H4S 2A4 Montreal
Quebec, Canada

+1 514.332.4000

Milestone Systems A/S

Banemarksvej 50 G
2605 Broendby

+45 88 300 300
+45 88 300 301

*OPTEX (Europe) Ltd. - EMEA Headquarters

Unit 13, Cordwallis Park, Clivemont Road
SL6 7BZ Maidenhead

+44 1628631000
+44 1628503600

Pacom Systems

STANLEY Product & Technology

Bramble Road
SN2 8ER Swindon
United Kingdom

+44 1753 500537

Smartek Vision d.o.o.

Dobrise Cesarica 6
HR-40000 Cakovec

+49 89 381 53 30 57
+49 89 381 53 30 58

Honeywell Security Group

Newhouse Industrial Estate, Motherwell

+44 1698 738200
+44 1698 738300