20 000 Tesco Bank customers lose money
LONDON — Tesco Bank has halted online payments for current account customers after money was taken from 20 000 accounts.
The bank’s chief executive Benny Higgins told the BBC he was “very hopeful” customers would be refunded within 24 hours.
About 40 000 accounts saw suspicious transactions over the weekend, of which half had money taken, he said.
Customers will still be able to use their cards for cash withdrawals, chip and pin payments, and bill payments.
They can also use online banking, but cannot make online transactions until the situation is back under control, Mr Higgins told the BBC’s Today programme.
Earlier, the bank confirmed some accounts “have been subject to online criminal activity, in some cases resulting in money being withdrawn fraudulently”.
Mr Higgins also apologised for the “worry and inconvenience” that customers have faced.
One cybersecurity expert said this could be an unprecedented breach at a British bank.
“I’ve not heard of an attack of this nature and scale on a UK bank where it appears that the bank’s central system is the target,” said Prof Alan Woodward, a security consultant who has worked with Europol.
Over the weekend, customers complained about money being withdrawn without permission, cards being blocked and long delays to get through to the bank on the phone.
“Any financial loss that results from this fraudulent activity will be borne by the bank,” Mr Higgins said. “Customers are not at financial risk.”
Tesco has yet to use the word “hacking” to describe the breach.
The bank has more than seven million customer accounts and 4 000 staff, based in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle.
A National Crime Agency (NCA) spokesman confirmed it is leading the investigation into the case, but stressed there was “no set formula” for dealing with cyber attacks, which tend to “vary in terms of sophistication”.
“It will be investigated and hopefully that will lead to action and arrests,” he said. — BBC.