FIA offers help on cyberattack even though NBP doesn’t file complaint

Published November 2, 2021
This image shows citizens lined up outside a National Bank of Pakistan branch in Karachi. — APP/File
This image shows citizens lined up outside a National Bank of Pakistan branch in Karachi. — APP/File

KARACHI: Although the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) did not file any complaint over a cyberattack this past weekend, a team of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cybersecurity wing visited the bank’s head office on Monday and discussed with its senior officials ways to trace the motive, origin and people behind the assault.

The head of the FIA team informed the media the investigation body had taken the initiative on its own as the NBP had not filed any formal complaint about the incident.

“But still we have offered them all possible assistance from our side, including in the area of forensics,” said chief of FIA’s Cyber Crime Zone for Sindh Imran Riaz after visiting the NBP offices.

Bank claims partial recovery from attack, says 60pc branches functional

“We exchanged our findings. The bank management has informed us that they have taken some international experts on board to sort out things and would get back to us if needed. So far the origin of the attack and other factors are still under investigation but after meeting the bank officials we believe that there was no leak of the data and no key information was compromised.”

He advised the people in general and NBP customers in particular across the country to contact their nearest FIA cybercrime wing in case they received any obnoxious calls on behalf of the bank. He warned that criminal elements using cyber-technology for achieving their objectives could exploit such a situation and target NBP customers for the purpose.

“So far, it [cyberattack on NBP] was more to create a chaos which they did. Otherwise they failed to cause any harm because of timely response from the bank and its cybersecurity team. We made our initial analysis and found out that the system was intact,” said Mr Riaz.

NBP, meanwhile, claimed that 60 per cent of its branches across the country had been made functional in the 72 hours since the attack.

The NBP, which came under cyberattack in the late hours of Friday, said that over 60pc of its branches across the country had been made fully functional since the attack.

The bank said that more than 1,000 of its branches operated on Monday and delivered regular banking services by processing 800,000 transactions of over Rs286 billion.

“All ATMs were available for withdrawals by NBP clients, with transactions of over Rs5bn being reported by more than 200,000 clients,” said an update from NBP.

The bank said the final report on the attack would be ready in about 15 days.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2021

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