Debit card fraud: Congress demands resignation of SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya

New Delhi: Amid reports of widespread debit cards security breach, Congress on Sunday demanded resignation of Chairperson of the State Bank of India Arundhati Bhattacharya, alleging that the largest public sector bank was the “mothership” in the scam in which 19 banks have been hit.
Demanding an inquiry into the matter, party spokesman Tom Vadakkan expressed concern, saying that as many as 70 lakh cards have been affected in the “massive data breach” which is one of the “biggest scams”.
Vadakkan demanded resignation of Bhattacharya, alleging that SBI was the “mothership”, a PTI report said.
Insisting that the country was heading for a “major crisis” in this matter, he claimed that a 980-page document is in the public domain and on social media revealing details of the “most secret document” of the account holders
SBI, the country’s largest commercial lender, has advised its customers to use the bank’s own Automated Teller Machine (ATM) network after the security breach of around six lakh debit cards issued by the bank.
The case
About 30 lakh bank debit cards have come under threat after a security breach at a private bank’s ATM raised fears of potential fraud, according to media reports. Though this is just about half a percent of total cards issued in the country, this could be the biggest security breach in the Indian banking industry, say reports.
However, banks have advised customers to not panic as they are taking steps to prevent any major trouble.
According to media reports, the payment systems of Hitachi Payment Services were infested with malware that helped miscreants to steal personal information and do fraudulent transactions.
The breach might have happened at YES Bank as Hitachi manages the bank’s ATMs, says a report in The Times of India. The reason why other banks became vulnerable is because YES Bank ATMs see many third party transactions, says the report. What is worrisome is that the breach was effected in such a way that anyone using the bank’s ATMs in the region would risk having data compromised, a PTI report said citing bankers.
“Data processes of one private bank was compromised which affected other banks’ customers well. Customers who used that bank’s ATM stand to get potentially affected,” the PTI report quoted a banker as saying without naming the bank. Though the bankers claim the breach has not led to any monetary losses to anyone, the ET report says some customers have complained of unauthorized usage from China.
YES Bank on its part has “proactively undertaken a comprehensive audit of ATMs”. “There is no evidence of a breach or compromise on ATMs. We continue to work with relevant stakeholders, including other public sector and private banks, and NPCI, to ensure utmost safety and security of ATM network and payment services which are completely safe to use,” a bank spokesperson told the PTI.
Hitachi too has denied that its systems have been compromised. “I do not think it is necessary for any bank to reissue cards,” Loney Antony, MD, Hitachi Payment Services, has been quoted as saying in the ToI report.