Central bank says deposits in the banks are safe after arresting Chinese nationals for hacking into ATM machinesThe central bank said that it had enforced a separate regulation to prevent such incidents.
A day after five Chinese nationals were arrested for stealing money from ATM machines, the central bank on Sunday assured the public that their deposits were safe and that the money stolen by hackers did not belong to any customers.
"The depositors' money is safe," said Laxmi Prapanna Niroula, spokesperson for the Nepal Rastra Bank. "The thieves had withdrawn the money that the banks had kept in the cash machines."
On Saturday, police arrested five men from Durbar Marg for stealing money from ATMs by using fake visa cards. Police recovered Rs1.21 million from the individuals.
The total stolen amount could be between Rs30 million and R 40 million, according to the central bank. Niroula said the hackers were found to have used microchips to malfunction the ATM system.
“The device disconnects the ATM software from the core banking software and allows users to take out the money kept in the ATM vaults,” said Niroula. “But the money of bank account holders is safe.”
The central bank said that it had enforced a separate regulation to prevent such incidents.
“The law has made it mandatory that the banks conduct system audit and cross-check the functioning of information technology that the banks have been using from time to time. The recent case has also prompted the central bank to enforce additional measures to prevent such incidents in the future,” said Niroula.
Banks on Sunday were on high alert after reports surfaced that Chinese nationals had hacked ATM systems to steal money. Most of the banks on Sunday morning had shut their ATMs, but the central bank said machines were operating by afternoon. Interbank ATM transactions, however, remain suspended.
“We have started an investigation,” said Niroula. “It will take some time to ascertain the total amount of money the hackers have managed to steal and other details.”