Hackers steal $6 million from BankIslami Pakistan accounts

Islamabad, October 29, 2018: International cyber hackers stole about $6 million from the Pakistan’s BankIslami Limited customers’ accounts through simultaneous withdrawal over the weekend. The amount in Pak Rupee is estimated approximately Rs 800 million.

BankIslami Confirms Cyber Attack on its Debt Card Data

BankIslami has temporarily blocked all its payments cards for inside and outside country transactions and customers have been asked to use biometric ATMs for cash withdrawal or other transaction. Even BankIslami customer cannot used their payments card at POS machines.

BankIslami customers are facing difficulties as unfortunately limited bio-metric ATMs are available in the country.

Industry sources said hackers have attacked BankIslami Limited data base last week and used different delivery channels i.e. Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and Points of Sales (POS) in different countries over the weekend. This is the biggest cyber bank fraud in Pakistan’s banking history that occurred a loss of some Rs 800 million to the bank.

A senior official of BankIslami on condition of anonymity confirmed that as per initial estimates some $6 million have been withdrawn through illegal usage of more or less 5000 payments cards. He said that bank’s management is currently evaluating the actual losses to the bank as some transactions were matured after the shutdown of system.

He claimed that bank IT team quickly responded the customers’ complaints of suspicious withdrawal and system was immediately shutdown that secured a large number of accounts. In order to avoid further loss the bank has temporarily restricted usage of its all payments cards for local and overseas transactions.

“The bank management has also principally decided that all withdrawn amount will be reimbursed to the customers”, he said.

The bank’s team is continually working to resolve the matter and it may take one or two days to fix this issue, he added.

It’s a big challenge for the BankIslami’s new top management. Syed Amir Ali from Meezan Bank was recently appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of BankIslami Pakistan in place of Hasan A Bilgrami, who will work as an adviser of the bank till 31st December 2018.

BankIslami is the Pakistan’s second largest full-fledged Sharia compliant bank. Three years back, the BankIslami was also come under criticism for acquiring KASB Bank at Rs 1000/= only.

Some sources said that after the report of data hacking of BankIslami several other banks including JS bank have also temporarily blocked all payment cards for online and international transaction.

“JS Bank has temporarily blocked all debt and credit cards for online and international usage as a security precaution”, a customer of JS Bank received message from Bank.

The JS Bank has asked customers, who wish to use their payment cards abroad may contact the bank for unlocking of their cards.

Meanwhile, State Bank of Pakistan has confirmed the hacking of data incident and said on Sunday that as a result of security breach of payment cards of one of the bank in Pakistan yesterday (Saturday) and their unauthorized use on different delivery channels i.e. at ATMs and POS in different countries, the bank has temporarily restricted usage of its cards for overseas transactions.

The State Bank has instructed the bank to take all necessary measures to trace the vulnerability and fix it immediately.  The affected bank has also been instructed to issue advisory on precautionary measures to be taken by customers.#

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