While the rest of the country was enjoying their New Year celebrations, a group of cyber hackers was also enjoying theirs. The National Intelligence Agency has launched an investigation after a cybercrime syndicate managed to steal R42 million from SA Post Office financial institution, Postbank.
The crime doesn’t bode well for an institution that is seeking to become a separate entity and get a full banking licence from the Reserve Bank to allow it to compete with commercial banks, while still being state-owned.
A syndicate that had definite knowledge of the post office’s information technology system has committed the theft, which occurred between January 1 and January 3.
Brian Dube, spokesman for the department of state security:
When a government institution is compromised, the NIA will be involved and will offer its assistance.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that:
When the offices closed for the New Year holiday period, the syndicate gained access to a Rustenburg Post Office employee’s computer, linked to Postbank’s server system, and made deposits into the accounts.
It also increased limits on the accounts to allow extremely large withdrawals.
Over the next three days, ATMs in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State were used to withdraw cash from the accounts.
The login details of two employees – a teller and call centre agent whose names are known to the Sunday Times – were used. Police would not say if the two are suspects.
Although Postbank spent more than R15 million upgrading its fraud-detection service three years ago, an unnamed security expert told the newspaper:
The Postbank network and security systems are shocking and desperate need of an overhaul. This [theft] was always going to be a real possibility.
Postbank, which currently holds over R4 billion in deposits, also processes millions of rands in social grants throughout the year.
[imagesource: Brandan Reynolds / Business Day] Our health minister, Zweli Mkhize, is cu...
[imagesource:here] Looks like rap legend and doobie smoker Snoop Dogg is also a part-ti...
[imagesource: Rachel Levit] Remember when we were forced to read the back of air freshe...
[imagesource: AFP] Novak Djokovic is an incredible tennis player, who will almost certa...
[imagesource:here] Anticipation for Ridley Scott's House of Gucci has been brewing sinc...