In what is being viewed as a huge security breach, The Economic Times of India reported on Tuesday (Nov. 6) that nearly all of the banks in Pakistan have been hacked.
According to the report, Capt. Mohammad Shoaib, director of the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), said that based on a recent report it received, data from almost all of the banks in the country have been hacked. This comes just a few days after around 10 banks blocked all international transactions on their cards due to concerns about a breach of credit and debit card data. Shoaib said the FIA has written to all of the banks and is meeting with the heads and security management.
“Banks are the custodians of the money people have stored in them,” Shoaib said, noting that they are responsible if they don’t have strong enough security in place and it results in theft.
According to the report, the State Bank of Pakistan has been alerted by several commercial banks that they have stopped international payments on credit cards and debit cards as a precautionary move. The hackers reportedly sold data on more than 8,000 account holders at roughly 10 Pakistani banks. The first hack was reported by BankIslami on Oct. 27, when it said Rs 2.6 million was stolen from international payment cards. That prompted the bank to stop transactions of that nature and only allow biometrically verified payments on ATMs within Pakistan, noted the report. The next day, the Central Bank issued directives to all banks in the country to ensure that they take security measures to protect their customers and account information related to card operations. The security measure also needs to be continually updated to meet any future attempted breaches and ensure real-time monitoring of the card-related systems, noted the report.