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Monday, October 24, 2016

Passwords compromised in majority of debit card fraud transactions

Amid reports of widespread debit card security breaches, a senior State Bank of India official on Saturday said the passwords were compromised in majority of cases.

"I strongly believe password is being compromised and most cases are of false transactions," Chief General Manager of State Bank of India, Bengal circle, Partha Pratim Sengupta told IANS.

SBI, the country's largest commercial lender, has advised its customers to use the bank's own Automated Teller Machine (ATM) network after the security breach of around six lakh debit cards issued by the bank.

"Prima facie information says a lot of password compromise is happening. But we are obviously looking into the audit trail and will check transaction history of all customers who have suffered to see if there is any kind of malware problem," he said.

Also read: Debit cards from SBI, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank ICICI Bank compromised

The bank had blocked the debit cards whose security was reportedly breached due to the malware attack.

Some of the country's top private banks like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and YES Bank among others too are facing similar issues and several of the customers' debit cards are reportedly being compromised.

SBI on Wednesday had blocked close to six lakh debit cards following a malware-related security breach in a non-SBI ATM network.

Several other banks such as Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank too have admitted being hit by similar cyber attacks -- forcing Indian banks to either replace or request users to change the security codes of as many as 3.2 million debit cards over the last two months.

There were also reports of fraudsters robbing customers by of their bank deposits by calling them up and forcing them to give out details of debit cards on the threat of blocking the debit cards.

Sengupta cautioned customers not to divulge details like pin, card verification value, or any other identity information to anybody. "The bank will never ask for these details."

Source : Economic Times
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Govt to set up Rs 1,000-cr cyber security R&D fund

With the recent escalation in threats from neighbouring countries and incidents of ATM/debit card data breach, the Centre is setting up a cyber security research and development fund of Rs.1,000 crore to be spent over five years.

According to senior officials, this will be administered by a high-power committee headed by National Security Advis0r Ajit Doval.
Focus on critical infra

One of the salient features of the proposed scheme is the emphasis on technology for protection of critical infrastructure needed by law enforcement agencies, sources told BusinessLine.

At a mid-October meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), it was decided that such an R&D programme can be operationalised and implemented by the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). The fund will be sourced from the annual budgets of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under a separate head.


The activities proposed to be covered under the programme will include support for R&D projects, setting up centres of excellence, an inter-operability laboratory to test the developed hardware and software products, indigenisation of products, and human resource development.

Such a scheme was first proposed in 2013, and in July last year it was again floated with a draft note for the CCS from the NSCS for comments, the official said.

The sources also said that the CCS, at its meeting in May 2013, had considered and approved the note on ‘Framework for Enhancing Cyber Security of Indian Cyber Space’. It was proposed to set up a national-level fund for undertaking R&D in certain strategic areas of cyber security.

Vulnerability effect

“So, it is a proposal already in place, which is being revisited,” said another official, adding that the government has decided to establish the R&D fund now, considering the current situation of vulnerability.

The recent advances in ICT (information, communication, technology) and the exponential growth of the Internet are posing several challenges in the form of sophisticated/complex cyber incidents, the sources said.

“Such cyber incidents and risks may cause major disruptions that could impact the economy. Dependence on a few countries for technology and equipment could compromise national interest and security,” said one of the sources.

Considering the strategic and critical nature of cyber space, several countries recently included cyber as part of their military strategy and brought security products under the export control regime.

Under these circumstances, India cannot lag in such developments, the sources added.

“It is a challenge for all of us to allow the fast spread of the digital world, at the same time ensure security,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, Electronics and Information Technology Minister, tweeted recently, highlighting the importance of security in the cyber space.

Source : Thehindubusinessline
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We use 1% of profits for CSR annually, says SBI chief

The State Bank of India annually contributes around 1 per cent of its profits to socially relevant and corporate social responsibility projects. SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya shares with BusinessLine details of the projects and strategies the bank adopts. Edited excerpts:

What kind of projects has the SBI take up under its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, especially on education, empowerment, financial inclusion and Swachh Bharat?

We have been working on all of these areas. For instance, under Swachh Bharat, last year, , we asked each of our 14 LHOs (Local Head Offices) to adopt one district and build toilets for girls in all schools in that district.

With respect to education, we are doing a project along side Oracle India, called D-Change. Under this programme, we go to schools and teach children how to use internet and computers for productive purposes.

Subsequent to the students being taught, we hold weekend classes where the students in turn teach their parents.

With the help of volunteers from SBI and Oracle, we provide vocational training in 117 Rural Self Employment Training Institutes.

In the past few years, we have trained almost 2,50,000 people, 49 per cent of whom are either employed or run a business. We also give them small loans, if we feel that we can settle them in a good business.

In Karnataka, under the Gram Ujjwala scheme, we have donated one solar street lamp each to 212 villages.

Besides all of these, we have also donated a large number of ambulances and medical equipment. We have given RS10 lakh to 35 people who were not able to afford heart surgeries.

Recently, we donated a van to the Indian Cancer Society. The van has an entire lab for detecting cancer, including space for general examination, a blood testing unit, a Pap smear unit and a mammogram unit.

Does the SBI regularly contribute a sizeable amount for CSR. What kind of spend does the bank do? Is it more than the mandated 2 per cent stipulated by the Companies Act?

We did not start this now. We have been doing it from the beginning.

We don’t contribute the mandatory 2 per cent because we are a statutory company. As a statutory company created by an Act of Parliament, the Companies Act does not apply to us. For a very long time, we have been using 1 per cent of our profits for CSR activities. Even today, we continue to use 1 per cent; especially because banks have been going through a lot of stress in the past few years. The Reserve Bank of India has told us to keep it at 1 per cent. But, we are trying to increase the volunteering.

How does the SBI measure the success of its intervention in societal projects?

That is one of the reasons why we set up a foundation. When we were doing it through the bank, the contributions were in small pieces and we could not really assess the impact. Now, we are doing this through the foundation; we are doing many of these projects in conjunction with others, and because the scope of the project becomes large, it is much easier to measure the impact. We started doing the impact measurement last year. We will have to wait for a while to understand what change we are making.

After an intervention, when does the SBI decide to disengage?

Normally, when we get into a project, we decide on a goal and the number of people it needs to cover. If that goes well, we can extend the project. We don’t need to disengage, but if we find that it is not working out the way we want, we will disengage and move to some other effort.

Has the SBI made a one-time contribution to any project or movement?

Yes. For instance, we recently made a one-time contribution to the Barasat District Hospital, Kolkata, for a radiation machine. There are other examples, too.

Source : Thehindubusinessline
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Saturday, October 22, 2016

ATM compromise: Yes Bank says vendors need to do more

In wake of a system-wide security scare triggered by a malware attack on systems of its vendor Hitachi Payment Systems, Yes Bank sought to distanceitself from the breach and stressed on need to police service providers in a better way.

"There needs to be a lot more vigilance where there are outsourcing partners to make sure they don't endanger the delivery and system risk, and there's a fair amount of policing as far as outsourcing risks are concerned," its managing director and chief executive Rana Kapoor told reporters here.

According to media reports, systems of Hitachi Payment Systems which counts on Yes Bank as one of its major customers, are suspected to have been breached.

Asserting that there has not been breaches with the bank, Kapoor said there is a need for vigilance on the outsourced aspects because a bank does not do every function in-house.

Kapoor also exuded confidence in the security architecture of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), calling it as the finest in the world.

Following the discovery of the breach, he said the bank has initiated some cautionary measures to ensure that its customers do not get affected. ..

A bank spokesperson said after the suspected breach came to light for the first time, it had advised all its customers to change their secret personal identification numbers (PINs).

Also, to ensure that they indeed change the PINs and minimise the risk, it capped withdrawal at Rs 5,000 per transaction till the PIN gets changed.

According to reports, over 32 lakh cards stand at risk following the suspected security breach and banks have taken a slew of actions to thwart any untoward possibilities by either replacing the cards or asking them to change the PINs.

Source : Economic Times
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Airtel Payments Bank to begin operations from Q2

Airtel M-Commerce Services, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel (Airtel), on Tuesday said it has been renamed as Airtel Payments Bank after receiving the necessary approvals from all concerned authorities.

The company also unveiled a new logo to reflect its new identity. The company plans to start rolling out its banking network in the second quarter of the current financial year, it said in a statement.

On April 11, Airtel Payments Bank received a payments bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India. It plans to leverage on Airtel’s national distribution network in the rural areas and offer a platform to deliver banking services to the last mile.

Currently, the Airtel distribution channel is spread across 15-lakh outlets covering around 87 per cent of the country’s population.

Kotak Mahindra Bank has acquired 19.90 per cent stake in Airtel Payments Bank for around Rs98.8 crore.

Source : Thehindubusinessline
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