As the number of automated teller machines (ATMs) will mushroom internationally to 3.7 million by 2018, so will the number of attempts to smash, kick, blast open or otherwise tamper with the cash dispensers.

Thousands of banks in China, the world’s fastest-growing ATM market, recently signed $2 million worth of deals to protect their machines with a novel Israeli security system made by the Risco Group, the company whose products also were chosen to protect a World Cup stadium in Brazil last June.

 One of the Chinese banks using Risco security.
One of the Chinese banks using Risco security.

The system uses two Risco products: The ShockTec digital shock detector analyzes vibration signals caused by attempts to shake, smash, drill or saw any part of an ATM, and sends an alert to security personnel.

In addition, a seismic detector monitors changes in vibration and temperature of the protected surface, using algorithm analysis to differentiate between vibrations made by intrusion attempts and those caused by the environment. So if the ATM is located in a train station, the detector won’t react to noise and vibrations from approaching trains, but will react to attempts to shake, tilt or otherwise tamper with the machine.

The system’s “smart” digital signal processing can tell if the ATM is being attacked not only by sledge hammers, explosives and diamond-head drills, but also hydraulic pressure and thermal tools.

Hemy Fintsy, Risco’s executive vice president for marketing and product management, explains that current ATM security solutions often cause more problems than they solve.

“Usually ATMs are protected with some kind of device that alerts to tampering, but false alarms are common and they’re a big headache for most banks,” he tells ISRAEL21c, adding that year of experience and testing went into the Risco product.

“Its sensors not only identify possible tampering but also make the decision whether to alert the bank.”

Top 5 internationally

Though these particular products are new, the company has been around since 1978 and is ranked among the top five global players in security technology — along with such household names as Bosch, Honeywell, GE and Tyco.

The Chinese bank deals are just the latest piece of business that Risco is conducting in Shanghai, one of 13 cities where it maintains a branch office. Recently, Risco was voted, for the third time, one of 10 top foreign security companies doing business in China.

The company’s growing presence in China is paralleled by its expansion in Latin America, Europe and even New Zealand and Australia.

Its most recent projects include providing a comprehensive security solution for the new 44,000-seat Arena Pantanal, one of 12 stadiums that hosted the 2014 World Cup games in Brazil; and integrating a complete security management solution for a new wing at the University of Cyprus.

In addition, Risco Group was the only Israeli company invited to attend the Polish-Israeli economic summit and innovation seminar held during Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s visit to Warsaw in October. Risco holds 20 percent of the Polish security market and is the largest foreign presence in this sector in Poland.

Risco team in Poland, from left, Wlodzimierz Garwacki, Magdalena Gorska and Mariusz Bielawski.
Risco team in Poland, from left, Wlodzimierz Garwacki, Magdalena Gorska and Mariusz Bielawski.

The company employs more than 700 people worldwide, about 450 of whom work in two locations in Israel: the Rishon LeZion headquarters and R&D facility, and a new factory in Kiryat Gat that manufactures everything from simple sensors to sophisticated control systems for securing large organizations.

Security from A to Z

The private, family-owned business began in the garage of founder Moshe Alkalai, who tinkered with detectors and sensors, later focusing on alarm systems and access control systems. The company made some acquisitions along the way, resulting in the name Risco Group.

“We provide electronic security from A to Z: residential alarm systems, small commercial locations and large sites like banks, airports and stadiums,” Fintsy tells ISRAEL21c.

The Risco Group makes more than 150 solutions for buildings and control rooms, sophisticated detector technology, intrusion, video and access control systems. They can be found in commercial, industrial, institutional and residential applications around the world.

Fintsy says the products are all “proudly Israeli” and that Risco has not encountered any political troubles abroad. “It’s a plus for customers to know we are based in Israel,” he says. “They appreciate Israeli technology.”

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