Govt has sought report on debit card security breach: Jaitley

Several banks, including state-owned SBI, have recalled a number of cards, while many others blocked the ones suspected to have been compromised

Govt has sought report on debit card security breach: Jaitley

The government sought a detailed report on the extent of debit card data compromise following the biggest security breach in the Indian banking industry.

On Wednesday, State Bank of India had announced that it had blocked close to 6 lakh debit cards following a malware-related security breach in a non-SBI ATM network.

According to media reports, several other banks, such as Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank,  have also admitted being hit by similar cyber attacks. Some of the banks have replaced or requested users to change the security codes or PIN (personal identification number) with as many as 3.2 million debit cards over the last two months.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the government has asked RBI 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," Jaitley said, speaking to reporters in New Delhi.

A report in PTI said, some 60 crore debit cards operational in India, of which 19 crores are indigenously developed RuPay ones while the rest are Visa- and Master Card-enabled.

The report added that 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.

HDFC Bank said it had already taken action on the matter a few weeks back. "Besides advising those customers who we know have used a non-HDFC Bank ATM in the recent past to change (their) ATM PIN, we are advising our customers to use only HDFC Bank ATMs as we believe security controls at some of the other bank ATMs may not be at par with HDFC Bank ATMs," a spokesperson said.

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.

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.