A pedestrian walks past State Bank of India and Canara Bank automated teller machines (ATM) in Mumbai, India (Photographer: Adeel Halim/Bloomberg)  

32 Lakh Debit Cards Compromised, 19 Banks Impacted: Government Looking For Answers

The Government of India stepped in to take stock of the debit card breach that could've affected about 32 lakh debit cards across 19 banks in the country.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters on the sidelines of NABARD event that the ministry has already sought a report on the alleged breach, with an aim to contain the damage. Echoing the minister’s views was the secretary of economic affairs, Shaktikanta Das.

This case in which debit cards have been hacked from outside the country and have been misused, we have requested a detailed report from the banks. The RBI and Finance Ministry will both investigate this case in grave detail.  
Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs

The ministry will take action based on the findings of the reports submitted by banks and the Reserve Bank of India. The government will look to track the cyber trail to the point of origin.

Based on the RBI report and the report of the banks we will know exactly what has happened. In the cyber world the trail will always be there and it will be our effort to locate and trace the exact trail, to locate the point of origin of where this has happened. The government will definitely act on this.
Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs

The issues may be discussed comprehensively in a meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) after the findings of the report come in. Following that, financial institutions and banks will be given directions about the appropriate action to be taken, Das added.

Das who happens to be also on the RBI board said, the matter of cyber security was discussed in detail at the central bank board meeting in June this year and banks were given instructions to strengthen and tighten the firewalls with regard to cyber security and protection of their systems.

The National Payment Corporation of India, on Thursday, said in a statement that 32 lakh debit cards across 19 banks could have been compromised on account of a purported fraud.

The issue came to light when the country largest public lender State Bank of India blocked 6 lakh debit cards on October 14 after being alerted of a possible fraud by payment settlement companies like NPCI, Visa and MasterCard.

The case has raised doubts about the state of digital security in the country. Das said that the subject is often discussed in the government.

From the government’s point of view, I would say that cyber security is a very integral subject and at the highest levels in the government this subject is often discussed. Integrity and stability of the financial system and cyber security is all very important.
Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs