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Hackers hit Pakistan bank and reportedly stole around $6 million

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A Pakistani bank was hit by hackers who reportedly stole around $6 million. The Karachi-based Bank Islami confirmed that it suffered a security breach on Sunday, which resulted in the theft of payment card information.

Although the bank confirmed the breach, it has denied claims of having lost $6 million. The bank reportedly said that it detected illegal transactions amounting up to at least 2.6 million in rupees or roughly estimated to be around $19,500 dollars on October 27.

The bank identified the attack when its internal security system identified “abnormal transactions” coming from Pakistani debit cards from outside the country’s borders. The bank immediately reportedly logged off and cut itself off from the scheme to stop the attack.

In a statement, Bank Islami said that it suspects that the breach was a “co-ordinated cyberattack”.

How much money was stolen?

Although the international payment scheme claimed that transactions worth $6 million were observed, Bank Islami has refuted the claims. A local newspaper named PakistaniToday reported that the breach is considered to be one of the biggest cyberattack in the history of the nation.

According to local sources, Bank Islami a digital copy of Bank Islami’s customer credit card information was obtained by the hackers. The illegal transactions reportedly originated from the US and Brazil.

In the wake of the incident, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) issued an advisory that stated that a fellow bank’s cards were used at multiple ATM and POS machines in different countries. Following the attack, the SBP has restriction use of its own cards for overseas transactions.

Mitigations

Even as Bank Islami was still assessing the loss incurred, it credited an equal amount (Rupees 2.6 million) to all the affected customers. The bank has also restored all local ATM transactions.

Pakistani customers can reportedly use their cards in ATM and other POS payment outlets. Although international transactions have not yet been restored, the bank is confident about restoring them, once the risk of unauthorized access if completely mitigated. In December 2017, Habib Bank Ltd was also affected by a similar kind of attack.

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