(Alliance News) - Major South African banks are cooperating to establish the extent of the data breach that exposes some personal information of their clients.
This come after Experian PLC, a Dublin-based consumer credit reporting company whose clients include banks, reported on Wednesday that a data breach had exposed some personal information of as many as 24 million South Africans and 793,749 business entities to a suspected fraudster.
Nedbank Group Ltd, among other banks and banking industry bodies including the South African Banking Risk Information Centre and the Banking Association of South Africa, said it is engaging with Experian in relation to this incident.
"Experian SA, a South African credit bureau, has notified Nedbank of an investigation into an incident which resulted in Experian SA sharing personal information with a perpetrator who requested the information under false pretences," Nedbank said on Thursday.
"The safety and security of client information is a top priority and Nedbank clients' bank accounts are not at risk. Clients are encouraged to continue to be vigilant and adhere to normal safe banking practices," the bank said.
Absa Group Ltd also said it took the protection of its clients' personal information "extremely seriously" and "we have engaged with Experian to better understand what occurred and the steps they have taken to mitigate the impact".
"Experian is one of South Africa's largest Credit Bureaus. Financial institutions use Bureau information to assess clients' credit status and debt commitments when applying for credit," Absa explained.
"When credit applications are made, clients consent that their information will be shared in a secure manner with Credit Bureaus. These processes are regulated by law," it said.
Standard Bank Group Ltd said late on Wednesday it was working closely with Experian, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, the Banking Association of South Africa and the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service to give this investigation the support and urgency it deserves.
"Standard Bank can confirm that it is aware that Experian South Africa is investigating an external credit bureau incident in which some of our client demographic information was fraudulently provided to a third party posing as a legitimate client of Experian," the bank said.
"As our measures are security sensitive, we are unfortunately not able to divulge more details. We understand the anxiety that this will cause for our clients and wish to assure them that we are doing everything possible to protect them during this difficult time," Standard Bank said.
First National Bank, a subsidiary of Johannesburg-listed Firstrand Ltd, has warned its customers to be vigilant after the data breach.
"We are working with the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, the Banking Association of South Africa, and law enforcement and regulatory authorities to mitigate any potential risks on our customers as a result of the incident," FNB said in a statement late on Wednesday.
"Customers are advised to be extra vigilant and follow our recommended security precautions, which can be found on Security Centre on the FNB App and Online Banking," the bank said.
Experian shares were down 0.9% in London at 2,762.00 pence.
By Artwell Dlamini; email@example.com
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