Banks in Pakistan Found Vulnerable to Online Fraud

Habib Bank Limited's COO Sagheer Mufti and IBM Security Services Global Lead Partner Dr Tamer Aboualy talked about the vulnerability of Pakistani banks.

Speaking at the 12th International Information Security Conference of Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited Chief Operating Officer Sagheer Mufti stated that banks in the country are still losing an estimated Rs 1 billion in online fraud every year.

“Online fraud such as fake phone calls to retrieve personal information and ATM scamming can alone cost the local banking industry upto Rs 1 billion a year,” he said. “Thus, digitalisation can be a hindrance rather than a boon for Pakistan if it is not fully secured.”

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Mufti stated that Pakistan had been a victim to at least 11 suspected state-sponsored cyber operations since 2009. According to him, the cybersecurity market will grow by 12-15% through 2021 while global spending on cybersecurity will exceed $1 trillion from 2020 to 2025.

He added that after COVID-19, cyber security was one of the biggest threats facing the world. Furthermore, a single cyberattack could ruin online businesses in the country; “the cost of reputational damage cannot be aggregated and you lose market share to competitors.”

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IBM Security Services Global Lead Partner Dr Tamer Aboualy also spoke on the occasion. He pointed out that Pakistan had a vulnerable cybersecurity infrastructure and that organisations and banks were using security devices which were easy to manipulate for online fraud.

According to Dr Aboualy, particulars of Pakistan’s credit cards such as card number and PIN code had been on sale in black markets several times in the recent past.

“Security breaches cost on average $4 million to the attacked and hacked organisations in 2019,” he said. “The world has witnessed 2000% year-on-year increase in attacks targeting operational technology (OT).”


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