Digital Hood Defense Extends Vault Security to Hood Access Control
As ATM security went digital, the computer interfaces that added convenience to 24/7 banking left many machines vulnerable. Attackers, who could never physically disarm an ATM vault lock, use jackpotting techniques—gaining access to the ATM by hacking the computer portal of the machine—to bypass ATM security entirely.

How does jackpotting work?
Hackers install malware—malicious computer code—on the ATM, which allows them to either open the safe or cause the ATM to dispense large sums of cash. Jackpotting attacks don’t need to compromise the ATM vault lock, because they work through the vulnerabilities in the computer used in the ATM hood.

Why are ATMs vulnerable to jackpotting?
Most of the 3.24 million ATMs deployed worldwide use minimally protected computer components and software in their customer interfaces located in the top, or hood, of the machine above the vault where money is stored. Hackers can gain access remotely or at the ATM itself, depending on how the machine is networked and designed. While most ATMs have high-security vault locks, the vast majority remain vulnerable through the ATM’s hood.

How can ATM locks be protected?
Banks and ATM manufacturers can take steps to prevent jackpotting attacks against their ATMs.

  • Make it harder to access the physical equipment– Don’t leave exposed entry points, cables, or communication ports on the computer in the ATM hood.
  • Secure the network connections– Basic IT security measures like using VPNs and firewalls won’t deter serious hackers but can prevent certain types of jackpotting attacks.
  • Integrate hood and vault security– Install hardware and software components that run hood access through vault security protocols, such as in Sargent and Greenleaf’s Digital Hood Defense.

What is the BEST way to protect ATMs from jackpotting attacks?
When jackpotting emerged as a threat, Sargent and Greenleaf (S&G) developed a revolutionary product designed to extend ATM vault security to the hood of the ATM. As one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of ATM vault locks, S&G used proven mechanical components and leading-edge, high-security technology to develop Digital Hood Defense, with significant benefits for ATM owners and operators, including:

  • Increased security– Digital Hood Defense connects a high-security S&G lock in the hood to the primary vault lock, so customers can conveniently use the ATM, but banks control hood access securely.
  • Increased monitoring– Because Digital Hood Defense runs through the vault lock, banks can track and audit access information for both locks through the same advanced software.
  • Increased oversight– Digital Hood Defense allows managers to set time windows for access—allowing access to the hood only, vault only, or both depending on the task and the lock’s mode of operation. Technicians use one-time codes to access the encrypted system, so code and encryption data can’t be used to compromise the lock in the event of forced entry.

Sargent and Greenleaf not only responds to current attacks, but also designs locks with the flexibility to adapt to emerging threats. Digital Hood Defense offers more than protection against jackpotting—it’s smart security for the future.

Learn more about S&G’s commitment to responsive ATM security.