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India's Cosmos Bank hit by 940M-rupee cyberattack

Criminals siphoned off about 944 million Indian rupees through simultaneous withdrawals across 28 countries after hacking the systems of Cosmos Co-operative Bank Ltd., Reuters reported Aug. 14, citing a local police complaint filed by the lender.

The bank said unidentified hackers stole customer information by hacking the bank's ATM server and withdrew 805 million rupees in 14,849 transactions in more than two hours Aug. 11.

The hackers also moved 139 million rupees to a Hong Kong-based company's account by using fraudulent transactions over the SWIFT network. The payments platform told the newswire that it does not comment on individual cases.

Cosmos Co-operative Bank said in a statement that its core banking system receives debit card payment requests via a switching system, but a proxy switch was created during the attack and all fraudulent payment approvals were passed by the switching system.

The bank declined to reveal the countries where the transactions were made, citing security risks. Law enforcement authorities, meanwhile, have asked industry experts to determine how transactions were conducted simultaneously overseas.

In February, India's City Union Bank Ltd. also suffered three fraudulent remittances of nearly US$2 million that were made via the SWIFT platform.

As of Aug. 13, US$1 was equivalent to 69.98 Indian rupees.