CBN Warns Banks On Korean ATM Hackers

In an effort to mitigate losses to the financial sector through the activities of cyber criminals, the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned commercial banks on Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) infected by the hackers.

The CBN in a letter to all deposit banks, switch operators, mobile money operators, payment solution service providers, payment terminals providers as well as micro finance banks amongst others noted that the hackers have been able to infect some ATM terminals in Nigeria.

According to the circular issued from the Payment System Management department of the apex bank, information available to CBN shows that North Korean Cyber threat actors have been conducting malicious activities and financially -motivated Cyberattacks around the world for the past two years.

“The current campaign (tagged FASTCash) infects ATM Switch Application Servers of banks with malware and manipulates the switch to send approved ‘financial response messages’ to illicit requests thereby allowing ATM withdrawals in millions of dollars by the attackers across various countries.

“Information available to CBN indicates that some banks’ ATM Switch Application Servers located in Nigeria have been infected with the North Korean malware. The potential losses through ATM dollar withdrawals for an affected Nigerian issuer bank is immense.

Central Bank hereby mandates all banks to take urgent steps to identify affected ATM Switch Application Servers and urgently follow the remediation measures given in the attached appendix to this letter as well as links for further information on the threat.

“We expect that you would accord this the appropriate confidentiality and urgency required. Consequently, a report on actions taken with the outcomes should be rendered to Director,” the circular read.

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