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Massive Card Theft in India Raises Alarm

India is going through the turmoil of a very big data hack as cyber-thugs stole a huge 3.2m payment cards recently. The aftermath is that banks are moving fast to issue fresh cards even as they request card owners to reset their security codes. Authorities have confirmed that the hack is due to malware that had targeted Hitachi Payment Services, a platform where point-of-sale (PoS) and ATM facilities are available. A total of 2.6m affected cards belong to the widely used MasterCard and Visa branches of card facilities, The Economic Times reports.

Encouragingly, despite the hack, share values of banks increased at Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) when Axis Bank stock value was up 0.6%, Yes Bank -1.3%, SBI -2% and ICICI Bank -4.7% at market trade end on October 20, 2016. In the meantime, the Reserve Bank of India stated the same day that it was issuing fresh regulations for the card companies whereby they must necessarily comply with the Payments Act else pay a fine starting from INR 5 lakhs and going up to INR 1 crore.

Certain card companies were recipients of complaints from card-holders that their cards had been unlawfully used in China. Consequently, a forensic audit by the National Payments Corporation of India is ongoing under an investigation into the incident while efforts are on for preventing fraud. Scmagazine.com posted this, October 20, 2016.

Giving his comments to SCMagazine.com over e-mail, Shane Stevens Security Director for VASCO Data at Omni Channel Identity and Trust Solutions wrote that it was only natural that financial institutions, vendors and merchants were extremely worried since it was simply not evident as to whose software or devices one could rely on. The financial infrastructure of India had encountered a severe blow; however, PoS attacks wouldn't end there until it was relayed how urgent it was to fully assess every PoS solution that banking, travel and energy sectors used, Stevens emphasized.

Malware is created for seizing data on PoS devices, among other systems. If security breaches are disclosed it helps card issuers minimize frauds. India is on the way to set breach disclosure standards.

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