SBI blocks 6 lakh debit cards over security breach

State Bank of India (SBI) has blocked six lakh debit cards following a security breach that occurred in a non-SBI ATM network and will replace these with new ones, a report in The Times of India reported.

The report attributes the breach to a malware that can capture sensitive information that will enable committing financial frauds.

The report quoting Shiv Kumar Bhasin, chief technology officer, said customers can approach their respective branches, use phone banking or use internet banking for 're-carding' or resetting their PIN.

SBI has informed its branches of the breach and the cards being blocked, the report said, adding, the replacement exercise will be the biggest such for an Indian bank.

SBI had a total of 202.7 million active debit cards as of July 2016, according to Reserve Bank of India data, while SBI associate banks had a total of 47.5 million active debit cards.

The blocked cards, although huge in numbers, account for only around 0.25 per cent of the cards that SBI is maintaining.

Bhasin said like SBI, many other banks are facing such a situation and have been urging their customers to change their PINs for a long time now.

In several cases of ATM frauds customer's PIN has been hacked and the money siphoned off by fraudsters.

Banks have issued both oral and written instructions to customers on changing their ATM PINs for safeguarding their debit and credit cards, but customers often fail to comply, he pointed out.

Some banks have issued text messages while some others have sent mails to change ATM pin or sent new ATM pins to their customers.

In a recent case, a woman customer had complained of Rs55,000 being siphoned off her account from abroad. The woman, an account holder with State Bank of Travancore's Pattom branch in Kerala, said in her complaint to police that the money was withdrawn twice on 3 and 5 September.

Police said the cash had been withdrawn from a foreign country from an ATM counter, but did not elaborate.

The heist comes less than a month after some persons lost their money in an ATM theft involving some foreigners.