Police advise banks to step up security

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The City police have instructed banks to enhance their security measures in the wake of the ATM fraud on Monday.

According to City Police Commissioner G. Sparjan Kumar, it was impractical for the police to keep vigil on each banking facility in the city. The police have directed the organisations concerned to take steps to intensify precautionary measures. He added that each bank was liable for putting in place its own security protocol so as to protect its assets and provide secure banking facilities. The loss of huge amounts of cash in the ATM fraud has taken banks by surprise. The suspicion that the device used for the crime had been installed at the ATM facility in broad daylight has raised apprehensions among customers regarding the security measures put in place by banks.

Surprisingly, the device used for the crime had been planted at a State Bank of India ATM facility that functioned in the same building as the bank’s branch at Althara in Vellayambalam.

Has the incident exposed the vulnerability of such facilities in Thiruvananthapuram district?

“The development is certainly an eye-opener. It has necessitated the need for banking institutions to be vigilant towards new kinds of threats to cyber security,” said lead district manager P.R. Unnikrishna Pillai.

As per official statistics, there are around 700 branches and roughly 900 ATMs of various banks spread across the district. While CCTV cameras have been installed in each facility, not all of them are guarded by security personnel.

The financial liability that will have to be borne by the banks for the purpose has deterred such institutions from doing so. It is also being cited that the customers could incur additional service charges with the expenses in this connection being passed on to them.

S. Adikesavan, Chief General Manager (Commercial Banking), State Bank of Travancore, pointed out that banks and ATM facilities in the State faced lesser risk of physical threats such as break-ins when compared to the incidence of such crimes in other parts of the country. “On the other hand, we should be equipped to protect ourselves from emerging security threats,” he said.

According to him, many customers violate the instruction not to wear helmets while entering ATM facilities.

The problem necessitated the need to introduce a mechanism by which cash can be denied to such persons with the technological assistance of visual analytics, he said.

Mr. Adikesavan added that the SBT, which has 1,700 ATMs across the State, has conducted physical examinations, in the wake of the development, to detect the presence of any extraneous objects.

He also pointed out that the facilities are being monitored through a centralised, round-the-clock surveillance mechanism.