SBI to replace lakhs of debit cards due to security breach

New Delhi: State Bank of India has blocked over 6 lakh debit cards and is likely to issue new debit cards following massive malware-related data security breach. It said that its customers would be compensated.

The potential breach might have affected other banks also. Axis Bank in a statement said that its internal monitoring system had identified a threat and all the required steps were initiated to neutralize it.

According to Reserve Bank of India data, there are about 697.2 debit cards in use in India as of July end. The breach has compelled the RBI to review its reporting framework and ask banks to immediately inform it of any suspected fraud.

News reports suggest that 3.2 million debit cards have been affected by the data breach. The worst-hit are SBI, HDFC, ICICI, Yes Bank and Axis Bank.

The source of the breach is said to have originated from malware introduced from the systems of Hitachi Payment Services, enabling fraudsters to steal information and allowing them to siphon off funds. Hitachi provides ATM, point of sale (PoS) and other services to several banks in India.

Meanwhile, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has said that the data breach had come to its notice when some customers’ cards were fraudulently used in China and the US when the owners were in India. According to a report in NDTV Profit, NPCI had received fraud transaction complaints totaling Rs 1.3 crores from 641 card-holding customers from 19 banks.

The NPCI as well as the Finance Ministry have assured bank customers that corrective actions have been taken and there is no need to panic, the report added. “Only about 0.5 per cent of total debit card details were compromised while remaining 99.5 cards are completely safe and bank customers should not panic,” Department of Financial Services Additional Secretary GC Murmu told PTI.

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