SBI data breach: Bank forgets to password secure its server, ends up compromising customer details

According to findings, this unsecured bank server was part of SBI Quick.

What can be called serious negligence on the part of India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India (SBI) forgot to secure its server hosting sensitive information in one of its Mumbai installations, allowing anyone to access financial information like bank balances and recent transactions of millions of its customers?

It is being anticipated that due to this blunder, information related to bank balance, bank account number and other key bits were leaked.

According to a report published by Techcrunch, a tip-off from an anonymous security researcher highlighted that “the bank had not protected the server with a password, allowing anyone who knew where to look to access the data on millions of customers’ information”.

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Though there is no surety as to how long this lapse persisted, it was rectified soon after Techcrunch approached the bank and informed about the glitch.

None of the SBI officials commented on this matter.

According to findings, this unsecured bank server was part of SBI Quick. This facility allows the bank customers to send a message or make a call to carry out basic banking functions.

According to the information provided on the bank’s website, the ‘SBI Quick – MISSED CALL BANKING is a free service from the Bank wherein you can get your Account Balance, Mini Statement and more just by giving a Missed Call or sending an SMS with pre-defined keywords to pre-defined mobile numbers from your registered mobile number.’

Meanwhile, what makes it more concerning is that because this particular app connects the customer’s phone number to his/her account, the data leaked from the bank’s server can be used by identity thieves or scammers to swindle money from bank’s accounts.

The report issued by Techcrunch noted that after gaining entry to the unsecured SBI server, the Techcrunch team was able to see “text messages going to customers in real-time, including their phone numbers, bank balances, and recent transactions The bank sent out close to three million text messages on Monday alone.” The server also allowed access to the archive of messages till December 2018, that were supposedly sent to SBI users.

Its database also contained the customer’s partial bank account number, confirmed Techcrunch.

The India-based security researcher, Karan Saini asserted that “the data could be potentially used to profile and target individuals that are known to have high account balances”.

Saini also confirmed that knowing a phone number “could be used to aid social engineering attacks- which is one of the most common attack vectors in the country with regard to financial fraud,” he said.

Recently, State Bank of India (SBI) had alleged misuse of Aadhaar data. Logins and biometrics of their Aadhaar operators have been misused to generate unauthorised Aadhaar cards, bank officials informed UIDAI.

However, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the authority that established the database, had rubbished SBI’s claims.

SBI has more than 500 million customers across the world, with 740 million accounts.


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