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Cyber mafias strike at leading Omani bank

No customer suffered losses, credit or debit cards issued by Bank Muscat not affected

Gulf News

Muscat Cyber mafias have struck a leading Omani bank, wiping off 15 million Omani riyals in a day.

The Bank Muscat, in a disclosure to the Muscat Security Market, revealed that 12 prepaid Travel Cards, issued by the bank, were compromised on February 20, 2013.

“The gross value of transactions on these cards, which were compromised outside Oman, was 15 million riyals,” according to the statement put on MSM website.

The statement also assured MSM that no customer had suffered any financial loss and the other credit or debit cards issued by Bank Muscat were unaffected.

“The bank is committed to transparency and in line with the best Corporate Governance and Compliance practices, made the disclosure on Muscat Securities Market (MSM) informing about the compromise of 12 Bank Muscat prepaid travel cards,” according to a statement mailed by the bank to Gulf news on Monday.

The statement added that the bank was investigating the matter.

“On detection of the development, the bank launched immediate action and business relating to all operations, especially credit and debit cards, continues as normal,” the statement added.

The statement claimed that the bank had a strong system in place to address such developments.

“The bank is the leading financial institution in Oman and enjoys strong financial strength and this incident will not affect the growth of the bank. We reiterate that this is an isolated incident which has not affected the bank’s debit and credit card operations.”

According to reliable banking industry sources, a huge network of cyber mafia penetrated Bank Muscat’s server in India’s southern state of Bangalore.

It is learnt that the upper limit for a Pre-paid Travel Cards (PTC) is about 5,000 riyals. However, the cyber mafia, who may have bought PTC in Oman to hack the Bank Muscat’s India-based server, could have fraudulently increased the limits on cards after stealing data from the server.

According to sources, the cyber mafias have used cards in 10 countries across the world but not in India. “The amount of 15 million riyals was used in one single day,” the source added.

The company that hosts Bank Muscat server also hosts server for at least three leading Indian banks as well as some Omani banks but none of the other banks suffered due this hacking.

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