Millions of debit cards compromised in India

NEW DELHI: The Indian government on Friday asked the banks concerned and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to submit a report on the nature of a security breach which compromised about 3.25 million debit cards and assured customers that their interests would not come to any harm.

“I have sought a report in the debit card issue. The idea is to contain the damage,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters here.

According to the National Payments Cor­poration of India, as many as 641 customers across 19 banks have been tricked out of Rs13 million using stolen debit card data.

The government asked the RBI as well as the affected banks to provide details of the data breach and also describe the systems formulated by them to deal with cyber crimes.

The secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, Shaktikanta Das, said a report had been sought on all aspects. “There is no cause for alarm. The integrity of IT system of banks is robust and whatever action is required the government will take promptly,” he said. A preliminary input “sort of report” had already come in and the government was awaiting further details from the final report, he said. “After getting the report... whatever action is required, necessary action will be taken by the government.”

Earlier, on the sidelines of a German government event, Das said: “Customers should not panic because these hackings are done through computer and trail can easily be reached... They should not be alarmed. Whatever action has to be taken, it will be done with speed.” Of the affected cards, about 2.65m are on the Visa and MasterCard platforms while 600,000 are on RuPay. The breach reportedly involved some 90 ATMs.

Das said that based on the report of the RBI and banks, the government would exactly know what happened.

“And as you know, in the cyber world, the trail will always be there and it will be our effort to locate, to sort of trace the exact trail and locate the point of origin of where this has happened,” he said

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