Postbank loses R42m to cybercrime syndicate

2012-01-14 23:19

Johannesburg - The national intelligence agency (NIA) has launched a high-level probe after a cybercrime syndicate stole R42m from SA Post Office financial institution Postbank over the New Year holidays, the Sunday Times reported.

The theft occurred between January 1 and January 3, and was allegedly committed by a syndicate with knowledge of the post office's information technology (IT) system.

Department of state security spokesperson Brian Dube confirmed that the theft had occurred and that the probe had been launched.

"When a government institution is compromised, the NIA will be involved and will offer its assistance," he told the newspaper.

Postbank currently holds over R4bn in deposits, and processes millions of rands in social grants throughout the year.

The bank told the newspaper that none of its customers were effected by the hacking, but declined to comment further.

The syndicate reportedly opened several Postbank accounts across the country late last year, and during the New Year holiday period gained access to a Rustenburg Post Office employee's computer and made deposits from other accounts into its own.

Over the next three days, automated teller machines (ATMs) in Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal were used to withdraw cash from the accounts.

The incident comes three years after Postbank spent over R15m to upgrade its fraud-detection service.

An unnamed security expert told the newspaper that serious questions had to asked about Postbank's internal systems.

"The Postbank network and security systems are shocking and desperate need of an overhaul. This [theft] was always going to be a real possibility," the expert said.

  • Kenjaymay - 2012-01-14 23:33

    You can draw 42 million from ATM's in 3 days?.......Come on pull the other one!!!!!! Banana Republic!

      violet.bossut - 2012-01-14 23:41

      Read it properly it was put into various accounts and drawn from different ATM"s throughout the country. Make sense now?

      Kenjaymay - 2012-01-14 23:48

      Hey Violet.... read the comment from Jacques below and then ask me if it makes sense!.......And please read it properly!!!!

      John - 2012-01-15 00:40

      Nigerian ANC guests criminals at work with insider ANC acomplices: 1- Affirmative Action Manager fails to specify proper level of security. 2-Affirmative Action Programmer fails to install proper level of security. 3-Affirmative Action employee tips off Nigerian Syndicate to lower level of security. Nigerian syndicate employs capable computer programmer to crak the lower grade security. Nigerian syndicate deploys the manpower to draw money country wide, or, deploys computer false trails to show money drawn at atm's country wide, while drawing from just somewhere inside or outside. No, I am not the N I A, just God gave me a brain, and my father and my mother gave me food, not pap everyday.

      cosmos.ndebele - 2012-01-15 01:16

      @John people who eat pap everyday most of them do so because they ar poor & cant afford different food. You ar such a stupid oldman to to potray poor people in this way. If you hve proper brains as u claim u do, just read yr rubbish above & look at yrself in the mirror?

      Boer - 2012-01-15 01:42

      What a load of crap Malema or ZUMS are up to no good again. Waars die geld Malema jou vark?

      Squeegee - 2012-01-15 06:06

      Undoubtably an inside job. Expect arrests of people connected to IT department or security contractors soon.

      Walter - 2012-01-15 06:17

      Scurrilous bastards............ and it's not going to stop! As you say, "Banana Republic!"

      Eduard - 2012-01-15 07:08

      @ John I think your brain is pap

      Ben - 2012-01-15 07:49

      The report does not say the full amount was withdrawn, which means that there would still be balances in the accounts after the 3 days.

      Dirk - 2012-01-15 08:11

      National Intelligence Agency? Is that not an oxymoron, or perhaps they are using consultants.

      braamc - 2012-01-15 08:13

      I am trying to work out the withdrawals over 3 days. R2000 atm limit per day per account. How many fraudulent accounts involved to get to an amount of R42m? This is not the full story - massive inside job. Off course another ANC government/semi government institution involved, hardly a surprise. NIA will investigate - what a laugh.

      Ray - 2012-01-15 08:46

      And we have to do a RICA even if we open a new account in our bank where we have already been RICA'd.

      Sharon - 2012-01-15 10:32

      @ violet - you would need 100s of people to draw that amount from atms in three days - so you should start thinking realisticaly

      Anthony - 2012-01-15 11:32

      can only be a inside job

  • - 2012-01-14 23:38

    How is it possible to withdraw R42M rand through ATM's... Assuming they could get R2000 at a time that would then be 21000 withdrawals in 3 days or 291 withdrawals per hour or roughly 5 withdrawals per minute... Incomplete story.

      Hector - 2012-01-15 08:28

      Don't forget .. this is over a New year week end ... Come one .. something here smells highly of over ripe fish...

      Newsreader - 2012-01-15 11:03

      Most banks have also got a default cap on your daily withdrawals. Unless an account holder physically requests inside the bank that the limit be made higher. Not possible to have an abnormal limit without the bank verifying the credentials. Something is missing here!

      Sean - 2012-01-15 11:34

      @News reader - You are absolutely correct! It is a little more technical than one thinks, NIA. Start looking at home first.

      Sylvester Mohloli - 2012-01-15 11:55

      nt if u cloned a lot of cards linked to those accounts with a defined limit of say R90k? I knw a few banks that allows u to set these limits electronically up to R100k, bt u wl struggle to get an ATM with that much cash, in anycase, some1 frm the banks was fast asleep (some banks have intrusions systems that raise an alarm when very large amounts r withdrawn frm ATMs - whats the chance u wud withdraw R10k let alone 90k frm an ATM in SA? Robbery any1?), 2ndly this cnt be done by a few bored crackers, we start with the post office employees, go to the contractors and end up with some bank employees, and gudluck on finding the foot soldiers! nice of them to choose the 3 holidays though!lol

      Kevin - 2012-01-16 18:19

      They stole 42mil! It just says that ATM machines were used to withdraw cash... that does not mean they got all of it!

  • Lucky Manaswe - 2012-01-14 23:52

    Even if they opened 1000 accounts and had daily limit of R5000, u can't get R42 million out in 3 days. Or maybe the accounts were frozen in the 3rd day? Maybe is R4,2M or maybe someone is high.

  • Motho - 2012-01-14 23:53

    Please, it is too to be true. How can one withdraw such amount from ATMs within short space of time?

  • cosmos.ndebele - 2012-01-14 23:56

    Its a matter of getting a lot of foot soldiers running around ATMs collecting the loot, Nigerian guys come into a lot of peoples minds, remember what happened to the Brazilian Bank in 2004.LOOTED.

  • Elizabeth Nairn Bresler - 2012-01-15 00:01

    Sadly yet another corruption problem...obviously an inside job...its this constant theft pludering and corruption that will kill this country for us all...:((

  • Wilhelm - 2012-01-15 00:03

    Law enforcement in this country can't even raid the correct house even when they have the correct address (that of gangster Radovan Krejcir), now they want to catch a bunch of cyber ghosts? Good luck with that!

  • Donovan - 2012-01-15 00:05

    This is scary. No matter how they put this, it is not the full truth. IT security in ZA must be looked at seriously. This is an emberrasment to our goverment.

  • Sakkie Rogaine - 2012-01-15 00:26

    As an IT fanatic, I really envy dis guy. Y didnt I thnk of dat. Dammit. KENJAY, If i get u say 200 cards wit pin codes, u WILL withdraw da money in 3 days. U don hv 2 b alone 2 do it.

      Wendy - 2012-01-15 06:36

      Can you repeat that please ... in english!

      steve.dupreez - 2012-01-15 07:32

      hehehe Sakkie for a small % I'll help. @atheitis & wendy - you show your age and your racist tendencies - surely you've seen sms talk before??

      Hector - 2012-01-15 08:31

      @ Steve .. yes I have seen this sms talk ... normally in drooling morons .. like Sakkie

  • Bogo - 2012-01-15 03:54

    This story is nothing more than a mythological rendering of corruption.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-15 06:05

      What are u smoking?

  • fillibusters - 2012-01-15 05:07

    insider job

  • Johan - 2012-01-15 06:01

    15million to upgrade the system? That says nothing. Who did the upgrade? The CEO's son-in-law maybe or was it his granny?

  • simonpetermurrell - 2012-01-15 06:13

    The numbers aren't adding up. The Post Office is actually one of the better run institutions in the country.

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-15 06:37

    This article is so hypothetical in facts. The amount of money is too huge to be withdrawn from ATM's in such a short space of time. I doubt if NIA would resolve this, only few inteligence agencies in the world would trace these cybercriminals. This should have been inside job perpetuated by foreigners expertise. I once read of a bank employee in UK who managed to steal few cents from customers accounts to be a millionaire. I doubt if the money is still in the country.

  • Wendy - 2012-01-15 06:38

    Would be good if the media now and again got their story and facts right .. don't think the facts in this article are even possible!

  • Moss - 2012-01-15 06:47

    Jus go for the IT contractors

  • Peter Klaassen - 2012-01-15 07:16

    Can Somebody say...... inside job.........

  • Tony - 2012-01-15 07:27

    That's what the big corporate companies get for not employing permanent staff .Paying cheap contract salaries to these specialist and entrusting them with vital information is the order of the day nowadays. Telkom ,Eskom ,all getting hit by ex-contract workers when it comes to cable theft.

      Andile Oscar Mtshiselwa - 2012-01-15 08:24

      This is very much possible as the exworkers have got the IT information

  • ammpike - 2012-01-15 07:41

    as long as South Africa is still kind and generous to Nigerian criminals this will happen all the time it will be every days news mark my words Nigerian criminals are deeply involved in this crime one of this days this Nigerian criminals will drain our economy and will be poor like the rest of the African countries mark my words I am not being Xenophobic here but just face reality as it is

      ammpike - 2012-01-15 07:51

      This Nigerian Criminals are a problem in their own country and the rest of the world but other countries do some thing about this they aint like us its drugs IT crime human trafficking our sons and daughters are locked in foreign jail because of them South Africa lets face the reality we have a Nigerian criminal crises and that's a fact I have no problem with other nationalities in our country but Nigerians are our worst night mare

      Sean - 2012-01-15 11:47

      @Ammpike - I blame our border control here, how on earth do all these illegal immigrants enter our country and then get treated like gold so that no one can touch them when problems arise then they call it xenophobia??

      Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-15 13:22

      These Nigerians are no longer needed anywhere in the world. When they are here they send money for their relatives to come over. I don't hate Nigeians or other foreigners but they must only come here to study, visit or work.

      Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2012-01-15 13:22

      These Nigerians are no longer needed anywhere in the world. When they are here they send money for their relatives to come over. I don't hate Nigeians or other foreigners but they must only come here to study, visit or work.

  • Peter - 2012-01-15 07:49

    Could the ATM just be a smoke screen because the money went missing else where?

  • Patrick - 2012-01-15 07:50

    banana bank full of bananas guarding real money.

  • napejackjack - 2012-01-15 08:01

    we are not getting the truth from the report.

  • Mike - 2012-01-15 08:04

    Post Office's loss of R42 million of SA taxpayers money is just the tip of the BEE iceberg - in truth, every Government owned enterprise, department and most corporate head offices are bursting at the seams with at least 2 people to do every job - one to look the part, and ride the gravy train, and another to do the work. The problem is a culture of entitlement and inflated lifestyle expectations, where everyone wants Malema's lifestyle - but want a "short cut" to the rewards of success. Should heads roll? Of course, but as usual only scapegoats where it won't make the slightest difference so long as the ANC propogates the lie that the gravy train is big enough for everyone - it isn't. So the poor and pensioners relying on state grants, keep getting poorer - and the criminals will keep on laughing all the way to the bank. Think the commercial banks are safer? Think again - each writes of more than 10 times that amount in toxic debt every year, to keep 'black diamonds' in their hollywood lifestyle, at the expense of the working man. Amazing also, that after a decade of criminal "phishing" for your banking details with emails purporting to come from the banks and a billion rand spent on IT security, that the big commercial banks still let their customers accounts be plundered and gracelessly cover their own tracks.

  • braamc - 2012-01-15 08:10

    I am trying to work out the withdrawals over 3 days. R2000 atm limit per day per account. How many fraudulent accounts involved to get to an amount of R42m? This is not the full story - massive inside job. Off course another ANC government/semi government institution involved, hardly a surprise. NIA will investigate - what a laugh.

      Koosie - 2012-01-15 09:08

      First problem is you assume a R2000 limit, these account were created to be used fraudulently, in other words NO DAILY LIMIT, and yes you can remove it from your accounts, even bank accounts(or make it R99 Mil). Now the only problem is the ATM,and not to set off alarms withdraw smaller amounts then move to the next ATM. ATM's do not carry a lot of cash, few hundred thousand at the most, so you will have to clean out a lot of ATM's. Second withdrawals were made in 3 provinces simultaneously so it was not a alone job. The point all members are missing is how was WAY more than R42mil deposited at Rustenburg without setting off alarm bells??

  • Douglas - 2012-01-15 09:00

    What a hoot!

  • theuns.kruger - 2012-01-15 10:17

    The Post Office is yet another inefficient State-run institution. It is a so-called 'financial institution', but it doesn't even allow you to make payments using a debit card. "Eish, sorree. Kesh onlee." Pathetic.

  • david.lebethe - 2012-01-15 10:48

    I pity people who hold postbank accounts - majority of them are from rural areas and those from informal employment. They probably not know that their hard earned cash has been siphoned off by crooks, who are leading luxurious lifes off their savings. The act has clearly compromised our national security and wonder what the NIA is doing? The Minister of Security must take full responsibility for theft committed and must go. It is unconceivable how such an important organ of the state can be robbed of such monies when there is supposed to be an agency which is charged with protecting state organs such as post office (a holding company for postbank). The matter is a national disaster and need intervention by head of State. It's a matter that the President should not even pause to think about it.

  • phangolicious - 2012-01-15 10:51

    To all the stupid ignorant "racists" who wrote crap on this article, truth is U don't have your facts ............. do your research, the top 4 banks, lose millions everyday from cybercrime, it does'nt matter what they do, the hackers are alway a step ahead ........ it's even worse, the other racists expose themselves by thinking this money was withdrawn from an ATM ........ how "GeorgeW" can U be?

      Brenda - 2012-01-15 11:02

      "the other racists expose themselves by thinking this money was withdrawn from an ATM". How on earth did you come to that conclusion? The article clearly states that the money was withdrawn from not "an" ATM, but from various ATM's across certain provinces.

      Irene - 2012-01-15 15:25

      Seems you exposed yourself Phangolicious.

  • Tostig - 2012-01-15 11:36

    National Intelligence Agency, my Arse!! You'd have to get sub-contractors in to fill that role.

  • Sylvester Mohloli - 2012-01-15 12:00

    sad thing is not even the biggest banks' systems are that secure, if only it wasnt illegal....

  • bataung.kuenene - 2012-01-15 12:09

    Its possible because if they accessed the network of the bank then they can even change how much an ATM card can withdraw. Remember they made sure that they withdraw this money only when the bank is closed for holidays and no one could ever notice that a e.g. R50000 withdrawal has been allowed by an ATM machine per day.

      Singatha - 2012-01-15 14:39

      Correct on the daily limit withdrawal scenario especially since they had access to the bank's server.So theoretically they could have raised the daily limit to say.... R50K?? My question though is,how much cash does an ATM machine hold?Anyway i smell an inside job here as the story in the Sunday Times mentioned that the syndicate gained access through a Rustneburg Post Office employee's computer which was connected to the bank's server(conveniently left unprotected?)and they managed to make deposit into these fraudulently opened accounts and also increased limits to allow extremely large cash withdrawals.So FICA was useless in this case

  • mikenortje - 2012-01-15 13:59

    And Malema wants to nationalise the Banks, imagine how much will go missing then, and because of the info bill we won't find out about it till there is nothing left. Be careful who you vote for in 2014

  • Seja - 2012-01-15 15:47

    ...Eish!! ... this definitely means no bonuses for SAPO employees for yet another year!!

  • Angela - 2012-01-15 19:53

    is the post office not exaggerating the amount for insurance purposes...?

  • Gail - 2012-01-16 09:38

    Judging by the poor editing etc of articles is it possible that the comma is in the wrong place? Perhaps it is like the cops looking for an 071 number instead of an 074 and should read R4,2 million. Would that be doable in 3 days?

  • Renee - 2012-01-16 10:46

    Inside job.

      idille.borchers - 2012-01-16 19:55

      Wasn't the CEO suspended or fired not so long ago on suspicion of fraud?

  • tonny.botha - 2012-01-17 15:28

    This is surprising, Post Bank only allows R1000.00 maximum withdraw daily. When did they increase the daily limit? Something is really fishy here.

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