Zambia’s Largest Bank Responds After Hackers Made Way With Customers’ Deposit

By  |  July 10, 2019

Zambia’s biggest bank by assets ZANACO has refuted claims that their systems were hacked.

In a statement through its Head of Marketing and Communications Mutinta-Musokotwane Chikopela, the bank said, “Regrettably, it would appear that some of our customers have yielded to incessant pursuits of cyber criminals and shared their personal banking credentials.”

The Head of Marketing and Communications further stated that the bank has invested heavily in the controls and systems that host customer Personally Identifiable Information (PII) adding that customer security is of their utmost importance.

“We continue to advise our customers that details such as pin and/or passwords should never be shared online or with anyone else and if they suspect an attempt for fraud, they must quickly change their pin and report any suspicious activity,” Mrs. Chikopela said.

“We strongly appeal to our customers and members of the public to heed that cyber-crime is an industry wide situation and also cuts across different industries. Cyber-crime prevention is a collective responsibility as cyber-crime is on the increase globally.”

She further reiterated that it is everyone’s responsibility to take caution when it comes to cybersecurity.

Their response comes following a reported data breach that took place between Friday and Sunday, which saw thousands of customers lose their hard-earned money in their Xapit accounts.

Reports indicate that the fraudsters successfully accessed ZANACO systems sending SMS’ to thousands of customers who use the Xapit mobile money service requesting them to respond with their PINs as the system was undergoing an update as a result of the ZANACO Zee-Wallet.

A while later, thousands of customers lost their money after receiving messages from ZANACO that their accounts had been debited. Some of those affected launched their complaints and are demanding for compensation from the bank.

Disappointed clients have called on the bank to step up and take security measures while others have vowed to seek services in other banks.

“This Bank is irresponsible with our money. How do they allow someone to access their system and start sending us messages regarding an update which we didn’t ask for and they turn around to say there is nothing we can do? This is so sickening and I am closing my Xapit and my fixed deposit with this bank immediately,” a customer said.

In 2013 alone, Zambian banks lost USD 4 Mn to cybercrime, and a 2017 report by PWC revealed that cybercrime had increased by 23 percent.

Cyber-crimes have been on the rise across the continent with one of the most affected being financial institutions.

According to Serianu, a Kenyan-based IT and business advisory firm, cyber crimes cost African economies USD 3.5 Bn in 2017. In that year, annual losses to cyber crimes were estimated for Nigeria at USD 649 Mn, and Kenya at USD 210 Mn.

The report also found that more than 90 percent of African businesses were operating below the cyber security “poverty line.”

Featured Image Courtesy: The Ghana Star

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