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SBP swings into action after ATM hacking incidents

12:43 PM | 6 Dec, 2017
SBP swings into action after ATM hacking incidents
KARACHI - The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has expressed concerns over the recent hacking attack in which hundreds of account holders of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) were deprived of Rs10.2 million.

In a statement, the central bank said: “SBP reassures bank’s customers that complying with its responsibility of ensuring a smooth and safe payment system it will take every measure in coordination with banks to safeguard the interest of depositors against any fraudulent activity”.

“State Bank of Pakistan noted with concern that customers’ information on debit cards of Habib Bank Limited was compromised by hackers through skimming to create its clones and were used to withdraw depositor’s money from various locations within and outside the country,” it added.

The central bank has asked the banks to use EMV (Europay Mastercard Visa) standards for curbing such hacking activity.

According to the press release, “It would be pertinent to mention here that debit cards with a magnetic strip on its back – that stores customer’s account details are particularly vulnerable to skimming and cloning. Debit cards, complying with EMV (Europay Mastercard Visa) standards, featuring a chip and offering two factor authentication are now considered most effective countermeasure for card cloning through skimming globally. Accordingly, SBP vide its circular PSD 05 of 2016 issued regulations for Payment Cards Security wherein banks are required to develop infrastructure for EMV Compliance and issue cards by 30th June 2018.”

Since then SBP has been in contact with HBL management to ascertain the losses, returning money to the affected customers and precautionary measures to limit the impact of this hacking activity.

HBL has taken several immediate actions to determine and limit the impact of such transactions on customers. Specifically, it blocked all identified debit cards that were suspected to be misused and quarantined the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) used in hacking activity. Till today, 296 customers have confirmed the disputed transactions and the estimated damage assessment done to the concerned, Bank is Rs10.2 million for their customers. HBL has also managed to start returning the money to depositors to the extent of their losses. Meanwhile efforts are underway to determine losses to any other bank’s customers using HBL ATMs and take remedial measures.

ATM skimming — an illegal activity in which account details are stolen from the magnetic strip contained on the back of the debit card has been around for a while and such incidents have happened, sporadically, in Pakistan as well. To safeguard the depositors from fraudulent transactions, SBP has issued specific regulations for the security of payment cards and internet banking, under which banks are required to develop and implement comprehensive framework for risk assessment, implementation of controls and monitoring.


Currency Rates in Pakistan Today - PKR to US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 21 April 2024

Pakistani currency remains unchanged against US Dollar and other currencies on April 21, 2024. US dollar was being quoted at 277.5 for buying and 280.5 for selling.

Euro stands at 293 for buying and 296 for selling while British Pound hovers at 342.25 for buying, and 345.65 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.20 and Saudi Riyal's new rate was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 21 April 2024

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.5 280.5
Euro EUR 293 296
UK Pound Sterling GBP 342.5 346
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.2 75.9
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.3 74.05
Australian Dollar AUD 181 182.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.55 748.55
Canadian Dollar CAD 201 203
China Yuan CNY 38.47 38.87
Danish Krone DKK 39.78 40.18
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.53 35.88
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.86 1.94
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.11 912.11
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.08 58.68
New Zealand Dollar NZD 164.22 166.22
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.61 25.91
Omani Riyal OMR 723.2 731.2
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.45 77.15
Singapore Dollar SGD 204.5 206.5
Swedish Korona SEK 25.31 25.61
Swiss Franc CHF 305.47 307.97
Thai Bhat THB 7.56 7.71


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