Malaysia's CIMB says backup tapes with customer data lost; impact on S'pore not ascertained

The bank said the tapes do not contain any authentication data such as pin numbers, passwords or credit card security numbers.
The bank said the tapes do not contain any authentication data such as pin numbers, passwords or credit card security numbers.PHOTO: ST FILE

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's CIMB Group Holdings said some magnetic tapes containing back-up customer data were lost during routine operations, but added that there has been no evidence that any data has been compromised, Reuters reported on Monday.

Malaysia's second biggest lender said the tapes do not contain any authentication data such as pin numbers, passwords or credit card security numbers.

"Several magnetic tapes containing back-up data were physically lost in transit during routine operations. Some of these tapes contain customer information of CIMB Bank and its subsidiaries," it said. "Following a thorough and ongoing assessment, there is currently no evidence that any of this information has been compromised."

The bank said it was working with relevant authorities and taking steps to protect customers. It did not say when the tapes were lost. CIMB said it has heightened security measures following the loss of the tapes, including temporarily suspending some services via its call centre.

A spokesman from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that "as the incident occurred in Malaysia, MAS has been in touch with Bank Negara Malaysia. MAS has directed CIMB Singapore branch to ascertain the extent of the data loss and to take necessary measures to protect its customers."

The bank is implementing enhanced security measures to safeguard affected customers. The MAS advises customers of CIMB Singapore to exercise vigilance and closely monitor SMS and other alerts from their financial services providers.

Customers should consider changing their user IDs and passwords should these be similar to other personal data such as their NRIC numbers and addresses. "

The MAS added that banks operating in Singapore are expected to have in place measures to safeguard the confidentiality of customer information. "MAS will not hesitate to take action against banks that fail to do so," the spokesman added.

In a separate statement, Malaysia's central bank said it has been assured by CIMB that "necessary precautionary measures and mitigation actions have been taken to manage any possible negative impact arising from the loss of the tapes."

Earlier this month, Malaysia said it was investigating an alleged attempt to sell data of more than 46 million mobile phone subscribers online, in what appeared to be one of the largest leaks of customer data in Asia, Reuters said.