The State Bank of India has blocked more than 6,00,000 debit cards of its customers on the suspicion of possible security breach. SBI’s move was a precautionary measure to protect its customer from cyber threat.
Earlier, card network company MasterCard and Visa had informed various banks in India about a potential risk to some cards in India “owing to a data breach”.
On Wednesday, it was reported that the malware-related security breach was detected in the non-SBI ATM network. The SBI’s move to block the cards was intended to ensure that customer’s confidential personal data was not compromised.
“A few ATMs have been affected by a malware. When people use their card on infected switches or ATMs, there is a high probability that their data will be compromised,” Shiv Kumar Bhasin, SBI’s chief technology officer (CTO), told The Times of India.
In the era of a fast-changing digital world, ordinary consumers usually find hard to catch up on matters related to security. However, here are some steps that can help you protect or cut down the possible cyber threat.
KEEP YOUR PIN SECRET
Never write your password in your laptop or mobile phones. Try to memorize your PIN, and do not even write it on the back of your card. Do not let anyone else enter your PIN for you. Don’t share your PIN over the telephone. If you use your debit card to make a purchase by phone, never disclose your PIN.
SIGN UP FOR REAL TIME ALERT
Almost all banks and credit card companies have real time notification services that allow them to contact you in the event of any unusual transaction. Sign up for these notifications on the banks’ websites.
SET A PURCHASE LIMIT
Go to your bank account and set a withdrawal and purchase limit on your debit/credit card. When a purchase attempt is made over that set amount, you can choose to receive a text message notification, an email or a phone call to validate the purchase.
ROUTINELY CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD
Some studies have found that more than fifty percent of Internet users use weak passwords. You need to create strong passwords with some special characters. Obvious passwords such as your birth-date or initials are highly vulnerable to cyber attack. Be creative and make your passwords strong by using random combination of letters, number and symbols that have no connection to you or your family. And, keep changing it.
PREFER CREDIT CARD OVER DEBIT CARD
Consumers are advised to prefer credit card over debit card as the former has better security protection. And, the other issue with debit card is that there’s a much shorter window of time for cardholders to report a suspicious transaction made on a debit card.
Some additional tips on the secure use of debit cards and ATMs
Always block the view of others when entering your PIN at an ATM.
Always make sure your ATM or debit transaction is complete before leaving the terminal.