Hit by an unprecedented ATM security breach, several public and private sector banks have recalled or blocked over 32 lakh debit cards to safeguard their customers from any financial fraud, while the government has sought from them details of all necessary safety measures. Bankers said the recalled cards include those that have been replaced as a ‘pre-emptive measure’, while in many cases the customers have been asked to mandatorily change the PIN and other security numbers to resume using the blocked cards.
While there were some reports about certain cards, affected by security breach, having been used fraudulently abroad including in China, bankers appeared putting the blame on a payment services provider that manages ATM network of a private sector bank.
State-run SBI is said to have re-called around 6 lakh cards, while others like Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank, Central Bank and Andhra Bank have also replaced debit cards of several customers as a pre-emptive measure. Among the private sector players, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Yes Bank have asked customers to change their ATM PINs. HDFC Bank also advised its customers to use its own ATMs for carrying out any transaction.
The suspected security breach happened through a malware in the systems of Hitachi Payments Services, which serves ATM network of Yes Bank. Hitachi provides payment services through ATM services, point of sale services (POS), emerging payments services and banking channel products like cash recycling ATMs and auto passbook entry machines.
Yes Bank sought to distance itself from the breach and stressed on need to police service providers in a better way. “There needs to be a lot more vigilance where there are outsourcing partners to make sure they don’t endanger the delivery and system risk, and there’s a fair amount of policing as far as outsourcing risks are concerned,” Yes Bank chief Rana Kapoor told reporters.
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Hitachi Payment Services, however, maintained its system was not compromised, citing interim report by an external audit agency appointed by it. According to bankers, the breach took place in such a way that anyone using the said bank’s ATMs in the region might stand to get affected. Concerned over the issue, the Finance Ministry has sought details from banks as also the additional steps that need to be taken to avert such incidents.
According to the Ministry sources, the Department of Financial Services has sought information about implication of such data compromise from Indian Banks Association.