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NBP claims to recover from cyber-attack

National Bank of Pakistan’s branch on the II Chundrigar Road in Karachi. Photo: Athar Khan/Bol News

KARACHI: The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has said that it had recovered from a cyber-attack on its system reported last week.

The NBP, a public sector bank, on October 29, 2021 reported a cyber-security breach on its system; following which the bank terminated its services to secure the data and money.

The bank has confirmed that more than 1,000 branches of around 1,500 operated a day ago and delivered regular banking services by processing 800,000 transactions of over Rs286 billion.

All the ATMs were available for withdrawals by the NBP clients with the transactions of over Rs5 billion being reported by more than 200,000 clients.

“This was a significant achievement by the team of NBP, as the first day of the month is critical given disbursement of salaries and pensions,” the NBP said in a statement released a day ago.

1LINK, transaction service provider to banks, on October 31 confirmed that there was no disruption of any interoperable banking services during or after the cyber-attack on the National Bank of Pakistan.

All transactions, both financial (ATM cash withdrawal, IBFT-Inter Bank Funds Transfer and bill payments) and non-financial transactions (balance inquiry, title fetch and bill inquiry) are completely functional and safe.

There was no downtime from Thursday, October 28, 2021, till now, and the transaction volumes suggest that the consumers are conducting transactions as usual.

The 1Link issued the clarification to dispel all rumours and give comfort to all the banking customers that Pakistan’s payment systems and digital banking is safe, as neither customer data is compromised, nor any compromise has been reported through 1LINK grid or its member banks.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on October 30, 2021 officially made a statement that the NBP had reported a cyber-security-related incident, which is being investigated.

“The bank has not observed any data breach or financial loss. No other bank has reported any such incidence,” the central bank said, adding that it was monitoring the situation closely to ensure safety and soundness of the banking system.

The State Bank of Pakistan, 1LINK and all banks are closely monitoring the situation to ensure continued safety and soundness of the banking and digital payments system.

A day ago, the SBP issued another Tweet to reject media reports of financial losses or data stolen in the recent cyber-attack.

The SBP said some fake news regarding cyber-security attack on the banks is in circulation, including remarks attributed to chief spokesman Abid Qamar.

According to these fake news, nine banks have been affected by the attack and that money has been withdrawn and data stolen. The central bank said it strongly rejected the fake news.

“No bank, other than the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), has faced a cyber-attack,” the SBP said. Further, no financial loss or data breach has been observed so far,” it added.

The SBP is monitoring the situation closely and it will share any update or information about the incident through its official channels, according to the tweet.

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