Money

UCPB victim of Nigerian hackers: P167M allegedly stolen thru ATM, online transfers during security upgrade

The state-owned United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) allegedly lost P167 million to hackers who were able to access the bank’s core system in the middle of an online security upgrade, according to an insider familiar with the incident.

By Nancy Carvajal

The National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division –(NBI –CCD) is now conducting an investigation following the complaint filed by the bank’s Corporate Services and Security group.

The unauthorized access and fraudulent alterations stemmed from the replacement of Interscan Messaging Security Virtual Appliance to MS Exchange Online Protection which resulted in an increased malware,’’ the insider said.

The bank insider said the malware or computer virus have surveillance and remote access functions that allowed the suspects to watch and learn how the bank processed, sent and received cash online.

Based on the initial investigation, the NBI identified several suspects, including two Nigerian nationals, one of whom was able to withdraw more than P4.4 million in one day from various ATM terminals.

Bank records showed that the Nigerian national opened the account on May 31, 2020 with an initial deposit of P2,000.

Thirteen more accounts owned by local residents were believed to have been involved in the hacking. The NBI has summoned owners of these by the NBI-CCD.

“These accounts had a sudden increase in cash balance that were withdrawn quickly,’’ the insider said.

Apart from ATM withdrawals, the suspects were also able to perform bank transfers with the cash withdrawn immediately by the suspects.

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