All bank networks hacked! Here’s the truth…

False Financial

There have been a number of cases in the recent past, where criminals used a small device installed to ATMs or POS machines in stores to steal debit/credit card credentials as the customers insert their cards into these devices. 

In this backdrop we noticed a message being shared by multiple Facebook users claiming that all bank holders in Sri Lanka must check their bank accounts immediately as the bank networks have been hacked. The message urges account holders to block all the ATM cards immediately and report to the respective bank. Screengrab of the post containing this message is given below.

Facebook LinkArchived Link

Even though the messages are not shared in great magnitude, a number of users had shared this information on their timelines as shown below.

Facebook Link

The message in English as well as in Tamil, read as such, “Please don’t use SEYLAN. NTB. COMMERCIAL. NSB. ATM cards in ATM machines. Some ATM hacking incidents have been reported. Please share this.”

Since the post reminded us of a similar incident reported a few years back and there was no mainstream news reports about a major fraud we decide to carry out a fact check.

Fact Check  

In order to find out the authenticity of this claim we contacted LankaClear, operated under the guidance and supervision of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka as the authority responsible for Sri Lanka’s National Payment Network and Infrastructure. Harsha at LankaClear clearly stated “there is no threat as such mentioned in the message which is viral and all necessary security checks are in place and that it might be an old message which went viral almost a year ago due to some ATM frauds being exposed”

We also noticed that LankaPay had issued a statement on their Facebook page informing public regarding the above message. The post describes the message as, “a malicious message distributed by unscrupulous individuals with malicious intent to damage the reputation of financial sector.”

Lanka Pay FacebookArchived Link

The same message was shared by several banks and Commercial Bank had shared the message here, informing public that there was no danger with the bank systems.

When we checked similar content in the past over social media we noticed that the same message was shared in February 2019 following few fraudulent transactions which committed by criminals who had illegally skimmed the card details from ATM users.

Below is a screenshot of the messages shared in February 2019.

Facebook Search Link

We noticed that LankaPay social media updated in February 2019 also and issued an alert to public to be vigilant of such fraudulent transactions involving ATM cards as given below.

Lanka Pay FB (Feb 2019)Archived Link

We also noticed a number of content on mainstream media as well in February 2019 related to ATM frauds, which were on the rise and below are some of good reads on how to stay safe from ATM and other online transaction frauds.

Readme.lk articleDaily News

Conclusion: From our investigation, it is evident the message which is circulating since Saturday(04th) morning claiming that “all bank networks have been hacked” is false. In addition, this message is an exact replica of a message, which was published following the ATM fraud cases, which were on the rise back in February 2019.

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Title:All bank networks hacked! Here’s the truth…

Fact Check By: Sathyajith Subasinghe 

Result: False

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