Millions of Indian debit card-holders at risk now, how to secure yours?

Many Indian banks were affected by the recent malware attack, forcing them to recall debit cards or ask customers to change PIN immediately

Millions of Indian debit card-holders at risk now, how to secure yours?


In one of the biggest ever breaches of financial data in the country, about 3.2 million cards issued by Indian banks were affected by a malware attack. SBI has recalled around six lakh cards after the security breach and advised its customers to use the bank's own ATM network to withdraw money. Similarly, several other major Indian banks, including Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank, too have suffered from similar cyber-attacks. Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank, Central Bank and Andhra Bank have already replaced their malware affected debit cards, while many others asked customers to change their ATM pin numbers.

banking -ATM PIN

What happened to all these debit cards?

The security breach reportedly happened through a malware in the systems of Hitachi Payments Services, which serves YES Bank. The issue came into light when banks found that fraudulent transactions have occurred in countries like China and US using Indian customers debit cards. The National Payments Corporation of India revealed that as many as 641 customers across 19 banks lost Rs 1.3 crore as a result of fraudulent transactions.


How can we protect our cards from such fraudulent transactions?

Your credit or debit card information can be captured by fraudsters using different techniques. They may do it by jamming ATM keypad or by noting down the pin when use your card at a merchant establishment. They can also fool you through skimming, where fraudsters can read the information on your card using a skimming device planted in the ATM’s debit card slot. As our cards always vulnerable to such risks, these are few steps you can take to reduce the chances of losing your money.

  • Never expose your ATM PIN to anyone. Do not write it down anywhere

  • Don’t ever seek the help of a stranger to withdraw money from ATMs

  • Do not use ATMs with strange commands, such as asking you to enter pin twice etc.

  • If your card gets stuck in the machine, immediate call the bank officials and report the incident.

  • Keep changing your ATM PIN frequently

  • Update your mobile number with the bank and get transaction alerts

  • Do not use ATMs that are attached with extra devices

  • Immediately inform the bank in case your card is lost or stolen and make sure its blocked

If you are frequently do online banking,

  • Always check URLs before banking. Make sure that’s your bank's genuine URL

  • Keep changing your password as you do for ATM PINs

  • Create strong passwords and remember it

  • Use security applications from trusted sources

  • Make sure to log out if you are using a public computer