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29 lakh debit cards subjected to malware attack: Government

The Union Government has announced that total of 29 lakh debit cards were subjected to malware attack in through ATMs that were connected with the switch of Hitachi.

 It was announced by Union Minister of State (MoS) for Finance Santosh Kumar Gangwar in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The reply mentioned that the malware-induced security breach between May and July 2016 had compromised only 3,291 cards as reported by banks to the RBI. 

Measures taken after security breach
  • The Hitachi Payment Services (HPS) had appointed SISA Infosec for The Payment Card Industry (PCI) forensic investigation. NPCI had not carried out independent investigation.
  • The forensic report suggested that the only ATM infrastructure of HPS was breached and not the POS (point of sale) infrastructure.
  • RBI had advised banks to improve and maintain customer awareness and education with regard to cyber security risks.
  • RBI also has set up a Cyber Security and IT Examination (CSITE) Cell within its Department of Banking Supervision in 2015.
  • The central bank also had issued a comprehensive circular in June 2016 covering best practices pertaining to various aspects of cyber security.
  • It had instructions on banks cyber-security framework, asking them to put in place a board-approved cyber security policy, make arrangement for continuous surveillance and prepare a cyber-crisis management plan.

About Malware

Malware is short form of malicious software. It is any software used to disrupt computer or mobile operations, gain access to private computer systems, gather sensitive information, or display unwanted advertising. Before the term malware was coined by Yisrael Radai in 1990, malware was referred to as computer viruses.

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RBI sets up inter-disciplinary standing committee to review cyber threats

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up of an inter-disciplinary standing committee on cyber security to review the threats inherent in the existing and emerging technology.

The 11-member committee will be headed by Meena Hemchandra, RBI Executive Director. It can co-opt more experts and also operate through a framework of sub-committees to examine specific issues.

Key Facts
  • The committee will study adoption of various security standards and protocols, interface with stakeholders.
  • Based on study, it will suggest appropriate policy interventions to strengthen cyber security and resilience.
Background

Based on the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Cyber Security and Information Technology Examination, RBI had issued guidelines to banks in June, 2016 mandating cyber security preparedness for addressing cyber risks. Since then banks have taken several steps to strengthen their defences, but the diverse and ingenious nature of cyber-attacks necessitates an ongoing review of the cyber security landscape and emerging threats. Even the statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies also was issued along with the Sixth Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement, 2016-17 proposing constitution of inter-disciplinary Standing Committee on Cyber Security.

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RBI to set up committee on strengthening cyber security

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to set up an inter-disciplinary Standing Committee on cyber security to examine various threats and suggest measures to deal with it.

The committee will suggest appropriate policy interventions to strengthen cyber security and resilience in a bid to strengthen cyber security system.

Functions of Committee
  • Review the threats inherent in the existing or emerging technology on an ongoing basis.
  • Study adoption of various security standards and protocols and also act as interface with stakeholders.
  • Suggest appropriate policy interventions to strengthen cyber security and resilience
Background

The committee has been set up based on the recommendations of the expert panel on information technology examination and cyber security headed by Meena Hemachandra. In recent times, banks have taken steps to strengthen their defences against cyber-attacks, but the diverse and ingenious nature of recent attacks has necessitated an ongoing review of the cyber security landscape and emerging threats.

Recent Cyber-attacks

In 2016, as many as 32.14 lakh debit cards were compromised in the cyber-attacks. It was the biggest-ever breach of debit card data in India. Of the debit cards affected, about 26.5 lakh were Visa and Master Card-enabled and 6 lakh were RuPay enabled. To tackle the threat, RBI had issued swift guidelines to banks, mandating cyber security preparedness for addressing cyber risks.

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