Almost all Pakistani banks hacked, customer-data stolen in security breach
In a major security breach, data from almost all banks in Pakistan has been hacked, according to a shocking revelation made by an official of the country's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). FIA Cybercrimes Director, Retd Capt Mohammad Shoaib, said hackers operating outside Pakistan had stolen large amounts of money in a recent security breach. He added data from most banks was compromised. Here's more.
"According to a recent report we have received, data from almost all Pakistani banks has been reportedly hacked," Shoaib told Geo News. "The hackers have stolen large amounts of money from people's accounts," the FIA Cybercrimes Director said. "The recent attack on banks has made it quite clear that there is a need for improvement in the security system of our banks," he added.
FIA has informed all Pakistani banks about the security breach, Shoaib said, adding a meeting of the bank heads and security managers would be convened to discuss how banking security infrastructure can be boosted. "Banks are the custodians of the money people have stored in them... They are also responsible if their security features are so weak that they result in pilferage," he stated.
Shoaib said FIA is probing over 100 cases in connection to the breach. However, he did not reveal when the breach exactly took place. He said FIA arrested several cybercriminal gangs and recovered the money they had stolen. Members of one such gang had withdrawn money from customers' accounts, disguising themselves as army officials, after stealing data of the account holders.
Shoaib's revelation comes days after as many as 10 Pakistani banks suspended international transactions on their credit/debit cards as a precaution, after learning about the cyberattack. Data of 8,000+ accountholders of around 10 banks was sold in a hacking market, revealed digital security website krebsonsecurity.com.
On October 27, BankIslami reported the first cyberattack in which, it claimed, hackers had stolen PKR 2.6 million from international payment cards. Later, on October 28, the State Bank of Pakistan directed all the banks in the country to ensure security measures on their systems are updated, monitor card operations in real-time, coordinate with integrated payment schemes, and switch operators and media service providers.