TraceSecurity disclosed today that the case of Citibank customers whose funds were hacked via the connection between ATMs and third parties processing their PIN codes, are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the overall security and compliance of the networks that process ATM transactions. Over the past five years, TraceSecurity personnel have uncovered thousands of un-patched ATM processing servers while performing routine security compliance inspections. The company is responsible for performing annual audits and inspections for firms in the financial services space to ensure they are complying with industry and government regulations that help protect consumers' sensitive data as well as the funds in their accounts.

"Most people's home personal computers are better protected from malicious hackers than many ATM servers," remarked Jim Stickley, CTO and vice president of strategy and solutions at TraceSecurity. "Financial institutions are failing to perform patch updates to ATM servers often because third party vendors aren't approving the patches to be applied to systems running their ATM software. As a result, hackers could easily exploit known security holes in operating systems such as Microsoft, which are used by many ATM solutions available today."

In addition, the company has found that many financial institutions are not placing their ATM servers into secured private segments on the network. This means that anyone with basic access to the network can eavesdrop on the data and transactions being processed by the ATMs and hack away at un-patched services. Officials recommend that ATMs should always be segmented onto their own network segments with tight access controls in place.

Stickley added, "Financial institutions need to do a much better job at setting up their network infrastructure. Unfortunately many organizations make the assumption that as long as the servers are behind a firewall they are safe. That is simply not the case."