Finance Min, RBI Seeks Report On Debit Card Security Breach


New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the government has sought a detailed report on the extent of debit card data compromise following the biggest security breach in the Indian banking industry that affected over 32 lakh card holders.

The government has asked the Reserve Bank of India and banks to provide details of the data breach and also banks’ preparedness to deal with cyber crimes. “Have sought a report in the debit card issue. The idea is to contain the damage,” Mr Jaitley told reporters here.

Several banks, including state-owned SBI (State Bank of India), have recalled a number of cards, while many others blocked the ones suspected to have been compromised and asked their customers to change the PIN (personal identification number) before use.

The country’s largest commercial lender, State Bank of India (SBI), has advised its customers to use the bank’s own ATM network after the security breach of around six lakh debit cards issued by the bank, an official said.

“We are advising our customers to use SBI’s ATM network as a pro-active measure. At the same time, the bank is aiming to replace around six lakh debit cards within two weeks,” Partha Pratim Sengupta, CGM of SBI Bengal circle, said.

There are some 60 crore debit cards operational in India, of which 19 crore are indigenously developed RuPay ones while the rest are Visa- and Master Card-enabled. Fraudulent withdrawals have been reported from 19 banks so far while complaints have been received from a few banks that their customers’ cards were used fraudulently abroad, mainly in China and the US while the customers were in India.

Meanwhile, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said there is no need to panic over the feared security breach and promised swift action in the matter.

India’s largest bank SBI is said to have recalled around 6 lakh cards while others like Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank, Central Bank and Andhra Bank have replaced debit cards of several customers as a pre-emptive measure. Among 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 and also some white-label ATMs.

SBI has already blocked the debit cards whose security had been reportedly breached due to the malware attack. As for the Bengal circle, the bank is aiming at disbursing Rs. 1,000 crore towards retail credit during the festive season. “Last year, retail lending during the festive season was Rs. 700 crore,” he said.

Under a new initiative, the bank has started a scheme called ‘Hope Loans’ by which it will contribute a portion of the proceeds from the repayment of home, personal, education and car loans to select NGOs engaged in sectors like shelter, education, health and environment.


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