PAKISTAN BANK HACKS
WannaCry had created scare in the banks and lots of them suspended their online / card banking transcations temporarily. It was just a ghost then, now its back again as a major hack in Pakistan, in which almost all the banks have been hacked. It is difficult to say that if this is in continuation of the City Union Bank, Cosmos Bank & State Bank of Mauritius hacks in India. They might have been the reconnaissance for this major hack, crippling the whole banking industry of a country. The details are yet to emerge. It’s seems the banking heists would get bigger and bigger in the days to come.
Banks security had been a major concern with the worsening cyber security scenario the world over. Recent big attacks started with the Bangladesh Bank Cyber Heist, which took place in Feb 2016. Of the 35 fraudulent instructions to withdraw close to US $1 billion via the SWIFT network, only 5 materialised, others were blocked on suspicion. In all $101 million was transferred, of which $38 million has been recovered. Since, then SWIFT is being compromised and so are the banks and sometimes even through the banking regulatory authority.
Might be for the first time the whole banking system of a country seems to have been compromised. The likely number of banks would be beyond 18 and the “the data of over 8000 account holders was sold,” in a market by hackers. This accounts pertain to around 10 banks. Nobody knows the number of accounts compromised, the total number of fraudulent transcations, the nature of breach & the culprits thereof. The banking circles knew of this, the efforts to hide has messed up matters. This public disclosure comes after 10 banks had blocked all international transactions. This was a reaction to the concerns over breach of debit / credit card data.
State Bank of Pakistan has been informed of this by various commercial banks. One bank has stopped online mobile banking services since Nov. 3, stating “technical grounds.” The first cyber attack was reported by BankIslami on October 27th. Rs 2.6 million was was stolen from international payment cards. It then allowed only biometrically verified payments only on ATM cards within Pakistan. Cyber is the ultimate war zone today, the amalgam of internal / external security, financial frauds & money laundering.
WITH CYBER DEFENCES NOT IN PLACE, ALL OTHER DEFENCES ARE COSMETIC TODAY