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Australian bank CBA loses 20 million customer records, didn't tell customers

03 May, 2018, 15:56 | Author: Janis Wilson
  • The statements reportedly contained customers’ names addresses account numbers and transaction details

In a statement, CBA said the data included customer names, addresses, account numbers and 16 years of transaction information used to print customer account statements (dating from 2000 to early 2016). Those not affected by the breach received a statement saying "there is no evidence of your information being compromised and you do not need to take any action". This supposedly involved the destruction of backup magnetic tape drives containing the financial data. The tapes contained customer names, account numbers, addresses, and transaction details.

The data was held on a magnetic tapes which were supposed to be destroyed by sub contractor Fuji-Xerox in 2016.

"Incidents like this are not acceptable", Angus Sullivan, acting group executive for retail banking services, said in the statement. But we're also sure this won't be the last freaky case of missing data that we'll find out about.

In relation to this fresh privacy scandal, CBA said on Thursday "no evidence was found of any customer information being compromised, and over the past two years there has been no evidence of customer harm or suspicious account activity".

Over the past two months, the Commonwealth Bank faced has allegations from the government of money laundering and collecting fees from customers that it knew had died. There have been numerous reports of counterfeit credit cards and identities from CBA-owned BankWest available for sale on the dark web, and staff members were sacked from the WA bank in 2014 for selling documents.

"We concluded, given the results of the investigation, that we would not alert customers".

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While CBA did notify the regulators (in this case, the Office of the Australian Information Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority), they chose not to disclose the breach to customers as they were deemed "protected".

As Fairfax Media understands, CBA believes a person handling the sensitive tapes that were scheduled for destruction instead left them unattended, and did not go through with destroying them.

This is one of the biggest privacy breaches in recent memory, possibly in Australia's history, and it comes just days after the banking regulator delivered a scathing report on the Commonwealth Bank, describing a "widespread sense of complacency", "lack of accountability", and a failure to learn from mistakes at the company.

The banking regulator said on Tuesday that community trust in Australia's banks had been "badly eroded" after CBA had failed to meet expectations and "fallen from grace".

National Australia Bank chief executive Andrew Thorburn said the bank would likely be reviewing its own data processes after CBA's mass breach. The bank immediately put in place monitoring mechanisms to further protect customers.

The bank said it had also ordered an independent investigation.



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