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Electronic Components/ATM Machine for sending / receiving SMS and Email.


ATM Keypad.
ATM Keypad.  
Cell Phone Keypad.
Cell Phone Keypad.  
QUESTION: Dear Deirdre‎‎‎

1. Are sending / receiving SMS and sending / receiving Emails could be useful functions / features integrated in Automated teller machines ?.

2. Technically for the above functions/features to work, will the following changes mentioned below to be incorporated in the ATM device ?

a. ATM Keypad to be changed , similar to a Cell Phone Device keypad
accepting numbers, characters (upper,lower case), special characters, symbols for sending / receiving SMS and Emails.

b. ATM processors (electronic circuits hardware) integration/modification dedicated for carrying out those above functions.

c. ATM software menu changes for implementing those functions/features.

3. The 4 digit pin number can also be replaced now by adding a strong alphanumeric password of 6-8 characters by ATM debit card holder. Could this be a useful function ?.

4. The ATM manufacturers collaborating with Mobile Network Operators to achieve the above functionality could be useful
in this context ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Sending and receiving SMS messages with an ATM is not actually practical. SMS typically is a relatively real-time messaging system, and most people do not visit an ATM on a daily or hourly basis. So to send SMS to ATMs, the ATMs would all need to store messages based on where the machines think a user will likely visit. It would also require some integration between cell phones and financial systems.

As for security, the usual 4-digit PIN is actually quite secure because users also have a physical card; it is the combination of that card and the PIN that insure the security.

A better solution might be sending and receiving cash, electronically, via cell phone, as is done with the new e-currency bitcoin.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Deirdre

Thank you.‎‎‎

The ATM Debit Card user will be able to use this features only if he/she is authenticated by the System. i.e. Correct Pin inserted and he/she is a valid account holder of the Bank.

The Cell Phone / Smart Phone Number and Email address is registered by the Bank account holder when opening a savings/corporate account with the Bank.

The ATM Debit Card which authenticates with the 4 digit pin number
will also hold the cell number information of the ATM Debit card holder connecting to the Bank for performing transactions. Additional features
of SMS Inbox/Outbox and Email Inbox/Outbox, features for sending/receiving
SMS and Email will be integrated in the ATM device.

The ATM manufacturers collaborating with Mobile Network Operators and Internet Service Providers to achieve the above functionality could be useful in this context ?.

Technically the system can be feasible to develop. Isn't it ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Technically, anyone can develop anything. It's technically feasible to use the display on an ATM to show youtube videos, but that's not an efficient use of the system.

It's possible, technically, if the connections are made, to send an sms text with an ATM. But that would imply a connection between banking information and the broader Internet and cell phone system, which has security implications that most banks would not wish to risk. And given that SMS implies that a person has a cell phone, posting SMS messages to an ATM would be redundant. As there are already Internet kiosks, these would be a better place for retrieving SMS text messages as well as email. It keeps the systems separate and poses less of a security risk to banks.

Also, where ATMs are often places where people queue, adding more functionality would increase the amount of time each individual might spend at the machine, resulting in longer lines and less convenience. When we consider that the ATM is basically a teller, one wouldn't go to a bank teller and ask them for their messages. Banks are not likely to wish to blend the services.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Deirdre

Thank you.‎

Once the ATM is exposed to the internet via a public IP address for email
services (using SMTP,POP protocols) i.e. for sending and receiving emails, only the following email server sites will be accessed to the valid ATM debit card user. Browser application will be part of the ATM machine.

i.e. All other web sites will be blocked except email servers sites.
Internet security of the highest level in the form of firewall implementation, anti virus software etc will be added to the ATM
machine for preventing attacks from Hackers, viruses etc.

A maximum of 10 minutes will be given to the ATM debit card user for financial transactions, sending/receiving email, sending SMS, checking SMS
Inbox. After 10 minutes the ATM system will automatically log out the
ATM debit card user.

The SMS received by the ATM device will be in silent mode unlike the SMS
received in the form of ring tone/s in a cellphone/smartphone device.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

You're expanding your proposal quite a bit by adding email.
I don't think that there is any way that email would be added to an ATM. It opens up a completely new area of vulnerability as emails can handle larger messages than SMS.

One of the main problems with opening up ATMs to this sort of use is the potential for hacking. If a vulnerability is found in the ATM, that would, for example cause an unhandled software exception to occur, it might be possible for an attack to hand out more money than intended, transfer money to unintended accounts or other problems.

ATMs are basically just industrial computers running software. And there are VERY few completely secure computer systems. With this proposal, you are instituting multiple possibilities for vulnerabilities. Simply connecting one of these machines to the Internet poses a problem. But then opening up the system to receive emails makes the system more visible on the Internet. Granting access to popular online email services is very risky, and these machines will be targeted by hackers if they are ever on the public Internet. Access to Yahoo, Google, etc. only makes them more visible.

I sincerely doubt that this is a practical use of an ATM. There are too many security risks involved.

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Deirdre Hebert


I can answer most questions regarding electronic components, what they are and how to use them.


I worked for a number of years in the electronic component testing industry, designing and building automated test equipment for the electronic manufacturing industry.

Numerous technical manuals for the equipment we built.

UNH, CCAF and others

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