Banks on high alert after Chinese nationals hacked ATM systems in capital

Published On: September 1, 2019 12:40 PM NPT By: Bipana Thapa

KATHMANDU, Sept 1: Most of the private banks, which closed down their ATM services citing hacking threats, have now resumed their services.

The inter-bank ATM transactions were disrupted since Sunday morning after the system of the Nepal Electronic Payment System Limited was hacked by the Chinese hackers, according to banks.

"We are yet to confirm how many banks have halted their ATM services," Uttam Raj Subedi, chief of Kathmandu Police told Republica Online.

The ATMs of over six banks had turned temporarily dysfunctional earlier today after a gang of six Chinese hackers hacked the banks' collective ATM system.  

Nepal Rastra Bank Spokesperson Laxmi Prapanna Niroula told Republica Online that the central bank will enquire the banks regarding the incident of ATM hacking. "Some banks have complained of their ATM system hacking. We will investigate and try to resolve the matter," he said.

Five Chinese nationals allegedly involved in the ATM card forgery were arrested from Durbarmarg on Sunday night.  The banks are on high alert following the incident.

The hackers were arrested for stealing millions of rupees from the bank accounts of subscribers by forging ATM cards in various ATM booths.

Acting on the tip-off that some foreigners were stealing money from the ATM booths in the capital, Police conducted the raids.

During the raid, the police seized dozens of ATM cards from the Chinese nationals' possession.

Subedi informed that the police will further launch an investigation against the accused in collaboration with banks and Central Bank.  

However, this is not the first time that the foreigners got arrested in ATM forgery in Nepal.

Two Bulgarian nationals were arrested after they were found to be involved in stealing money from ATMs Pokhara in 2017. Similarly, Moldovan nationals were arrested on charge of hacking ATM cards and stealing money from bank clients’ accounts the same year.



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