Thousands of Pakistan bank accounts hacked, money stolen in October

File photo of a staff counting currency notes at a bank in Peshawar, Pakistan. The country’s top investigation wing is probing massive hack that affected several Pakistani banks in the month of October.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Pakistani authorities have said that bank accounts of thousands of individuals have been compromised and money stolen as a result of a massive hack last month.

Officials of cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said they launched a probe after complaints by several individuals. The cyber-attacks were launched on October 27 and 28 and reportedly data of 8,000 customers from about a dozen banks was stolen.

FIA officials said that Bank Islami reported that Rs 2.6 million was stolen through international payment cards on October 27 after which it stopped such transactions.

Bank Islami, in a statement, confirmed that it had shut down its international and online payments systems and notified the central bank. It said the initial illicitly withdrawn 2.6 million rupees had been returned to customers' accounts.

In another case, a former chief scientist of Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) on Monday approached the Supreme Court with a complaint that Rs 3 million was stolen from his account.

FIA Cybercrimes Director Mohammad Shoaib told media that data of “most Pakistani banks was stolen.”

A bank official said it was still early to say how many account holders lost their money due to data hacking. “Banks are trying to cover up as it will erode their credibility. The account holders are not coming up to complain as they are being compensated by the banks. So we do not know how many people exactly have been affected,” he said.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said on Tuesday it had already instructed all banks to increase their scrutiny after one lender reported the problem last week, but stressed that the banks themselves were not hacked.

“It has been noted with concern news items reporting that the data of most banks has been hacked. SBP categorically rejects such reports,” a statement from the central bank said.

(With additional inputs from Reuters)

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 8:44:05 PM |

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