Bank customers of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) became victims of ATM card information and money theft as several machines in Karachi and some in Islamabad were affected due to skimming activities.

According to these customers, unauthorized withdrawals were made from their accounts, causing them stress and inconvenience. So far ATMs of HBL have been affected but any bank can become victim of such fraudulent activities.

As soon as these incidents were reported, the bank blocked the ATM cards of most of its customers to prevent further theft from their accounts. The Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cybercrime wing has started investigations into these bank account hacking incidents after it was reported that 600 HBL customers lost close to Rs10 million in the cybercrime attack.

“An ATM installed at Khayaban-e-Ittehad (Karachi) has been cited as the target of the attack,” an FIA official said while talking to local newspaper.

Apart from this, several cases have also been reported from Dolmen Mall ATM in Karachi and some ATM machines in Islamabad were also targeted.

HBL Chief Marketing Officer Naveed Asghar acknowledged that around 579 customers of the bank had been impacted by the cyberattack at around 10 ATM facilities. The affected customers, who would be reimbursed, lost less than Rs10 million, said Asghar.

“We are investigating it (hacking) and will reimburse those who have lost their money,” he emphasised.
“All machines (ATMs) have been rechecked to make sure that the bug is removed … we are giving assurances to our customers that there is nothing to panic and worry about.”

Hacking through skimming devices is a global phenomenon and not limited to HBL alone, he argued, adding the scale of the problem was small keeping in view the overall HBL customer base of 10 million.

“We are reassuring our customers that within no time, on a war footing, their debit cards will be replaced…we have blocked the affected cards,” he said.

It has been reported that the bank is working hard to restore the cards of its customers and prevent further attacks.