Cyberattack Hits Pakistan’s Banking System

Once again, the banking sector in Pakistan is faced with a cyberattack. According to news reports, the victim of this attack on the country’s banking system includes accounts particularly at BankIslami and a warning to the said bank’s ATM cardholders and online users are advised to remain cautious with any upcoming financial transactions.

In an official statement released on late Sunday evening, the State Bank of Pakistan has temporarily restricted usage of its cards for overseas transactions (only). For now, transactions within the country are still running.

Following the cyber attacks that hit the country’s banking systems earlier this year where Habib Bank Limited was largely affected, this is the second largest one to hit another financial institute. As per the advise of online experts, the accountholders and ATM cardholders have already been prompted to update their passwords as soon as possible in order to prevent any financial loss.
So far, there are no reports of estimated financial loss to the bank or the ATM cardholders. However, bank deposits remain insured.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan,
“As a result of security breach of payment cards of one of the banks in Pakistan yesterday and their unauthorized use on different delivery channels i.e. at ATMs and POS (point of sale) in different countries, the bank has temporarily restricted usage of its cards for overseas transactions.”
Since the news broke out, the central bank advised all banks to foster arrangements in order to ensure security of all payment cards and real-time monitoring of card transaction activity, especially overseas transactions.
Additionally, SBP has instructed the bank takes necessary measures in order to track down where the vulnerability lies and to take action on the same and said,
“The affected bank has also been instructed to issue advisory on precautionary measures to be taken by customers”
The following directives have been issued to all banks in Pakistan to ensure that; security measures on all IT systems including those related to card operations are continuously updated to meet any challenges in future, resources are deployed to ensure the 24/7 real time monitoring of card operations related systems and transactions, and immediately coordinate with all the payment schemes, switch operators and media service providers the banks are integrated with to identify any malicious activity of suspicious transactions.
“In case of any unusual incidents, banks are advised to immediately report to SBP.”
The Express Tribune reports that industry sources have revealed that ABL and JS Bank have also restricted ATM overseas transaction for the time being.
Source: Express Tribune
Image source: Bigstock