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Q. Cyber security Issues: Comment on recently reported massive financial breach through Hitachi Payment service platform.
Oct 22, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently it has been reported that massive financial breach has hit India's biggest banks including State Bank of India (SBI), HDFC Bank, Yes Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis etc.  It has been reported that as many as 3.2 Million debit card details reportedly stolen from multiple banks and financial platforms.

Issue-

  • According to economic times report, hackers allegedly used malware to compromise the Hitachi Payment Services platform, which is used to power country's ATM, point-of-sale (PoS) machines and other financial transactions.
  • The report claimed that hackers have stolen details of 3.2 Million debit cards in India.
  • The data gleaned by this piece of malicious software has apparently been used to buy things and withdraw cash in China.

Analysis-

  • If the economics times report is true, then it will be a powerful wake-up call to the perils of the connected world.  It has posed serious threat on online financial transactions.
  • The Bangladesh Central Bank has experienced theft in which the thieves obtained email passwords of key personnel to begin their chain of fraud.
  • Similarly it will create fear among people, and they may opt offline payments instead of online. Such issues will be huge blow to the ever expanding cyber financial transactions.
  • The entire area of security in the connected world calls for technological mastery by agencies amenable to national control. This calls for determined leadership in the government, apart from dedicated and ample funding.

Suggestions-

  • There is an urgent need to enhance better technology, systems and safety protocols to protect data.
  • Every company will have to invest in acquiring the hardware, software, intelligence, training of staff to adhere to strict protocol and customer education to secure customer data.
  • Contracts with all kinds of vendors would need to be rewritten to include penalty clauses to cover systems compromise because of what they supply.
  • It is better to use the biometric data like finger prints, eyes to ensure greater safety in all ATMs, POS terminals.

Conclusion-

The recent report of Economic Times on data hack has posed serious threat to online financial transactions. Similarly it is wake up call for our establishment that it is high time to secure our payment gateways. Hence government must address all this security related issues very seriously. Else cyber terrorism posed by these incidents will destroy the financial health of the system.


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