Standard Bank computer was hacked in R300m ATM fraud hit - report

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Johannesburg - Investigators have reportedly discovered that a Standard Bank South Africa computer system was hacked in a R300m ATM fraud hit in Japan.

This is according to a report by the Japan News, which was carried by the Chicago Tribune this week.

Last month, it emerged that about 100 people reportedly used forged Standard Bank [JSE:SBK] credit cards to withdraw ¥1.8bn (over R250m) from 1 400  ATMs in Tokyo and other areas in Japan in under three hours.

Standard Bank later confirmed the incident with the bank having estimated that it lost about R300m in the crime.

Standard Bank said there had been no financial loss for customers in the "sophisticated, coordinated fraud incident".

The bank said in a statement the incident involved the withdrawal of cash using a small number of fictitious cards at various ATMs in Japan.

Now, Japan News is reporting that the crime could have involved the hacking of Standard Bank South Africa.

“Police have found that there was an unauthorised access of a computer system of the Standard Bank in South Africa that caused a malfunction of the system shortly before the cash was withdrawn, according to sources close to the investigation,” Japan News reported.

According to the report, the sources said an analysis of the computer system revealed that a program in the system was operated with no authorisation early in the morning on May 15, shortly before the withdrawals were made.

Police believe the system was hacked by someone from outside the bank.

Japan News reported that it is suspected that the hackers broke into the bank's system and obtained about 3 000 sets of personal data used in the fraud.

It is also believed that the forged cards had been prepared in advance by loading the stolen data onto empty cards.

Japan News said that country “suspect the unauthorised access was made by an overseas criminal group as it requires sophisticated knowledge of hacking”.

South African officials, who are investigating the crime, reportedly flew to Japan earlier this month, while ten people have been arrested in connection with the crime.

Police in Japan have also linked the infamous ‘Yakuza’ gang with the fraud.

Standard Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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