Send by email

your name: email to: message:
Username: Email: Password: Confirm Password:
Login with
Confirming registration ...

Edit your profile:

Country: Town: State:
Gender: Birthday:
Email: Web:
How do you describe yourself:
Password: New password: Repite password:

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The cyberattack in Mexico


The coffers of Mexican banks have suffered a million-dollar blow. A group of hackers have stolen several million pesos in an operation that could well be a script for television or cinema. The top officials delayed the report on this matter and many clients believe this was not respectful. Some actions are already being taken.

The banking system of Mexico has entered a crisis after being victim of a millionaire cyberattack. The problems in transactions because of the theft of several million pesos, through an attack on the online banking systems of five financial institutions, has affected a yet unknown number of people. Delays in the deposit of payroll, difficulties to access online accounts or the impossibility of electronic transfers are some of the most common complaints that users have for a couple of weeks.

The Bank of Mexico acknowledged on Monday that the robbers made hundreds of moves from the electronic system to several phantom accounts in various financial institutions and then withdrew the cash in branches. Although the authorities have not revealed the total amount of the theft, the first estimates show a lot of 400 million pesos (20 million dollars). Banorte - the second largest bank in the country - has reported that 150 million pesos (7.5 million dollars) were taken from its coffers.

The robbery occurred on April 27 and since then the System of Interbank Electronic Payments (SPEI) has slowed down. The central bank explained that this is because when detecting strange movements in the system, the board of directors implemented an emergency plan to connect the banks directly with the SPEI, leaving out the providers that usually operate the service. The banks have assured their clients that even if the operations are slow or stop working temporarily, their money is safe in their accounts. Reassuring?

"It's not the users' fault if there was a robbery and all this tells us about how vulnerable the banking system is," says Paola Palazón, director of a magazine in Mexico City. Palazón says she started having problems with her Banorte account the last days of April. "There were several days when I could not make transfers," she says. When trying to make them online the system accused an error. These problems affected her in a special way because Palazón was organizing an event with Mexican designers and just in those days she needed to pay the suppliers. "The system was normalized on time, but I got ready to get the money and pay them in cash," she says to El país. The financial authorities took 15 days to publicly acknowledge that the cyberattack occurred. During those weeks some financial publications reported on the failures in the online systems of some banks, but at no time were the account holders informed of the reasons behind it. Palazón, for example, received part of the payroll payment two days later than usual. Beyond the problems she has faced, Palazón has complained that the bank took days to admit that the problems were a consequence of the cyberattack. "It seemed to me a lack of respect from the banks. There has not been an explanation of what happened yesterday."

The Bank of Mexico has announced, because of this situation, the creation of the Cybersecurity directorate in that institution to monitor the electronic operations. In addition, it has reported that the review of some transactions will delay its execution time and that withdrawals in cash derived from electronic transactions, greater than 50,000 pesos ($ 2,500), cannot be made on the same day.