24 million South Africans’ personal information is being leaked after a huge cyber attack on one of the country’s largest credit bureaus succeeded.
Information that banks need to identify customers – such as ID numbers, mobile phone numbers and addresses – is among the information stolen by a hacker at the credit bureau Experian.
All South Africans with a credit history – any loan, mobile phone bill, or store card – are listed at credit bureaus. Experian is one of the largest in the country and is therefore used by most credit providers.
The South African Banking Risk Center (Sabric) says in a statement that consumers do not have to worry directly about their bank account. The cyber attack is serious, but direct banking details and passwords are not among the data obtained by the hacker.
However, the information that is obtained can be used to mimic customers, as it contains everything about their personal identity.
Sabric warns this means fraudsters could potentially gain access to banking details by contacting banks and posing as customers.
Nearly half of the country’s population has been affected by the leak.
Sabric says banks are contacting their customers to let them know if their information has been leaked.
The Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) says with Sabric that consumers should be vigilant if they are affected by the leak.
“Think of your identity information in the same way you think of cash,” says Manie van Schalkwyk, CEO of the SAFPS.
“Keep it safe and secure at all times, because once compromised, it can be used by anyone to pretend to be you.”
FNB says in a statement that it is aware of the leak and is doing everything in its power to ensure customers’ cyber security. Customers of FNB are advised to check the proposed security measures on the FNB app.
African Bank also took note of the leak.
“The leakage of personal information affects our credit customers, because by law we must disclose all details of customers who have credit with us to three credit bureaus, of which Experian is one,” Piet Swanepoel, head of risk at African Bank, said in a statement. said.
Standard Bank has notified customers in an SMS that it will communicate directly with affected individuals.
Sabric says 793,749 businesses were also affected by the leak.