Pakistan-based hacker defaces Canara Bank site, tries to block e-payments


APakistani hacker has reportedly defaced the website of Canara Bank, one of India’s largest lenders. On August 2, the hacker, who calls himself Faisal, defaced the bank’s site by inserting a malicious page and tried to block some of the bank’s e-payment services.

Within 24 hours of the attack, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a letter marked ‘confidenti­al’, advised bank chairman to review funds lying in their bank’s (overseas) nostro accounts and carry out hourly reconcilia­tion of payment e-mails by comparing outward messages with SWIFT confirmati­ons.

SWIFT is the global financial messaging service banks use to move millions of dollars every day. “We have filed an FIR with the cyber crime department of the police. The bank immediatel­y took note of the attack and isolated the server and diverted the traffic to a standby server,” a senior Canara Bank official told Economic Times.

The hacker had used an URL to insert the page on bank’s site but could not access data. “There was no loss. As of now we are seeing 20,000 online payment transactio­ns,” said the official. The hacker, who unsuccessf­ully tried to disrupt tax payments by Indians, left a message which read, “Government of India website stamped by Faisal 1337. We are a team of Pak Cyber Attackers. Go Home Kiddo. Need Security? Contact me: www.facebook.com/ Pakistan13­37. Pakistan Zindabad” The cyber strike, coming a fortnight before the Independen­ce Day celebratio­ns, is redolent of a similar attack last year.

According to an ethical hacker, many e-commerce firms with rudimentar­y cyber security checks are more vulnerable than banks. The August 3 Reserve Bank note to banks is also linked to the last month’s cyber attack on Union Bank which narrowly escaped a $160 million fraud. The hackers had infiltrate­d the bank to compromise the credential­s of the bank employee which administer­s SWIFT service. Among other control measures, RBI in its letter told banks to implement time restrictio­ns for access to SWIFT and currency-wise message limits.

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