Hackers have managed to hack the network of Malta’s Bank of Valletta and have consequently robbed the bank of at least 13 million euros.
The Times of Malta had reported, on February 13th, of the Bank of Valletta suffering a hack, following which the hackers moved €13 million into foreign accounts. The report also stated that the bank’s functions were totally affected and that the website was taken off.
The report says, “Bank of Valletta shut down all its operations on Wednesday morning after hackers broke into its systems and moved €13 million into foreign accounts.”
“All of the bank’s functions – branches, ATMs, mobile banking and even email services – were suspended and its website taken offline…The bank’s mobile app was back online on Thursday morning,” reads the report, which was updated on February 14.
Following the cyberattack, the country’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told the parliament that the fraudulent transactions had been traced and were “being reversed”.
The Bank of Valletta issued a statement, on the 13th of February, stating that the hack hadn’t in any way impacted accounts. The statement says, “Bank of Valletta would like to inform its customers and the general public that it has temporarily suspended its operations, including Branches, following a malicious external attempt on its systems…The Bank is working closely with local and international police authorities in this regard.”
“We were informed on Tuesday that foreign police caught the people who committed the money theft and we commissioned lawyers in foreign jurisdictions to trace the money and bring it back,” BOV’s chairman Deo Scerri said.
“That is there is a good chance that all the money is retrieved, except for small amounts of less than one million euros which were spent and cannot be recovered,” he said.
Reports also say that the problem had affected account holders in the UK as well, with many individual users complaining of many issues relating to accessing their accounts, making transactions etc.
“The Bank would like to assure its clients that customer accounts and their funds are in no way impacted or compromised and that the Bank is working relentlessly to resolve the issue and have its operations running at the earliest possible time,” the statement further states.
Bank of Valletta, in an updated press release stated, “Bank of Valletta is pleased to announce that its third-party payment services outside the Euro area are being reactivated from its branch network and will endeavor to have them fully operational by Monday. The Bank is in the meantime working to also reinstate these payments through Internet Banking.”