‘Idea Is To Contain Damage,’ Arun Jaitley After Data Breach Exposes Debit Cards


New Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said today that he has sought a report on the misuse of debit cards after a massive data breach compromised over 3 million cards. “The idea is to contain damage,” Mr Jaitley said.

  1. The government has asked the Reserve Bank of India and banks to provide details of the hacking and also report on banks’ preparedness to deal with cyber crimes. “There is no need for panic or alarm,” said Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.
  2. 3.2 million debit cards of major public and private banks are feared to have been compromised by a cyber malware attack in some ATM systems, the National Payments Corporation of India or NPCI has said.
  3. The government’s national card payments network said a forensic audit was ordered after banks reported that debit cards of their customers were fraudulently used in China and the US. It said 641 customers from 19 banks had reported fraud withdrawals of a total Rs. 1.3 crore.
  4. Finance Ministry sources said an international organisation, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, is conducting the forensic audit of the breach and its report is expected by October end.
  5. Preliminary reports say the security breach happened between May and September this year, the government sources said.
  6. Maharashtra police’s cyber security cell has reached out to banks asking for details on the data breach, though banks have made no formal request for a police investigation yet.
  7. Banks said they have advised customers to change the security codes or PINs for their debit cards and have blocked the cards of those they could not contact.
  8. Largest lender State Bank of India said it has blocked and will replace 6,25,000 debit cards as precaution and that its customers will be compensated for losses, which it estimates at about Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 12 lakh.
  9. “Customers should not panic because these hackings are done through computers and a trail can easily be reached… they should not be alarmed. Whatever action has to be taken, it will be done with speed,” said Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das.
  10. Senior official GC Murmu said only 0.5 per cent of the country’s total debit card details were compromised; 99.5 cards are completely safe. There were 697.2 million debit cards in India as of end-July, according to data from the Reserve Bank of India.