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Nepali banks found vulnerable to ATM hacks and losing millions


On September 1, police in Nepal detained 5 Chinese nationals who were at Durbar Marg on charges they played a major role in a forgery of ATM cards. These individuals allegedly hacked into bank accounts belonging to the public to steal Nepal's currency 'rupee' counting to millions via creating duplicate ATM cards.


It was the previous night when cops handcuffed Zhu Lianang from an ATM booth of Nabil Bank situated at Durbar Marg where he was seen withdrawing cash. The Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Circle made the arrest while Zhu was trying to withdraw thousands of rupees with the aid of replica debit cards from the automatic teller machine.


During an interrogation, Zhu told the names of 4 others- Chen Bin Bin, Qiu-Yunqing, Luo Jialei and Lin Jianmeng- all Chinese nationals and co-conspirators within the hacking operation. www.kathmandupost.com posted this, September 1, 2019. The accused had landed inside Nepal August 30, while had prepared for fleeing to China on September 2.


Police found Zhu along with co-conspirators using real as well as forged bank cards within certain well-organized ATM heist wherein hackers break into some payment processor machine or bank server followed with using bank cards as a subsequent phase of withdrawing huge cash.


Uttam Raj Subedi Chief of Kathmandu Police says a particular system working for activating Visa Cards encountered the hack. Reports from sources indicate that banking institutions, which have ATM systems deployed from NEPS Company, are presently not functioning. Some twelve-to-fifteen banks inside Nepal are users of NEPS' ATM machines.


According to Nepal Rastra Bank, in all Rs.16.87m were lost during the cyber heist targeted on Nepali banks over the time-period 11am to 4.30pm on August 31. The same hackers reportedly even stole INR 12.4m out of different ATMs situated inside India. According to a claim by Nepal Electronic Payment System, Nepali banks underwent a theft of Rs.35m+ during the attack.


Cops have hitherto managed recovering some Rs.12.63m from the looters while absconders are suspected as taking away the remaining stolen cash. IT Department chief Shiva Ram Dawadi at NRB says the exact sum of money stolen will be calculated in just days' time.


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