BankIslami confirms it's a victim of $6mn cyberheist

BankIslami confirms it's a victim of $6mn cyberheist
In this file photo, a currency dealer counts Pakistani rupees and U.S. dollars at his shop in Karachi October 8, 2008. (REUTERS)
Updated 29 October 2018

BankIslami confirms it's a victim of $6mn cyberheist

BankIslami confirms it's a victim of $6mn cyberheist
  • Pakistan share market closes bullish amid reports of additional foreign financial aid
  • KSE 100 Index gains 4790 points since Saudi’s $6bn bailout pledge

KARACHI: Pakistan’s BankIslami corroborated on Monday that it came under a cyberattack – reportedly the biggest in the nation’s history – which may have involved $6 million worth of online transactions that were recorded in different countries over the weekend.
In a letter to the Pakistan Stock Exchange, the bank said: “On the morning of October 27, 2018, certain abnormal transactions valuing Rs 2.6 million were detected by the bank on one of its international payment card schemes. The bank immediately took precautionary steps which, inter alia, included shutting its international payment scheme. All monies withdrawn from accounts, i.e. Rs 2.6 million, have been credited in the respective accounts.”
The statement added: “The transaction of approximately $6 million as claimed by the international payment scheme are not acknowledged by the bank as the bank was actually logged off from the international system.”
Meanwhile, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) issued directives to all banks to safeguard all payment cards in the country and monitor their real-time usage, especially for overseas transactions.
“Security measures on all IT systems including those related to card operations are continuously updated to meet any challenges in future. Resources are deployed to ensure the 24/7 real time monitoring of card operations-related systems and transactions,” the SBP said in its statement.
Despite the cyberheist, the share prices of the bank closed in green gaining value by 0.06 percent at Rs 13.85 as the investors refused to give weight to the incident.
“The market participants did not give importance to the incident may be because the bank has not incurred significant loss,” Ahsan Mehanti, senior analyst and Chief Executive of Arif Habib Group, told Arab News.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Stock Exchange’s benchmark KSE-100 Index witnessed another bullish day, gaining an additional 897 points to close at 41453.76 level.
“Bullish activity continued at PSX on speculation ahead of PM [Imran Khan’s] visit to China and $1 billion likely financial assistance from the UAE to resolve external account imbalances. Institutional interest in oversold scrips in oil, banking and cement sector played a catalyst role in bullish close,” Mehanti commented.
“With this rise, total recovery from recent lows is 4,790 points against recent lows at 36,663 points recorded on October 16,” Khurram Schehzad, senior analyst and Chief Commercial Officer at JS Global Capital, said.
In terms of value, market capitalization recovered by about 12 percent or about $6.6 billion to $62 billion, while the market traded value crossed $100 million a day in the past few days, too.
“Traded Volumes at the PSX crossed 460 million shares which is a 15-month high, last seen in May 2017, when we were close to the MSCI EM upgrade. Market traded value also stood close to $120 million”, Schehzad said.
The sluggish share market experienced a rebound following the recent promise by Saudi Arabia to lend $6 billion to Pakistan to support the country in stabilizing its external payment imbalances.
On Monday, the stock market was abuzz with reports of additional support from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Malaysia, with investors expecting further financial assistance during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s upcoming visit to China on November 3.