Twenty banks (some suffering repeated outages), six countries (one in lockdown), five continents, tens of millions of unhappy customers.
There’s never a good time for your bank’s IT system to go down. But few can be worse than in the middle of a lockdown. It’s difficult to leave home, your local branch may not be open, and as a result you are more reliant than ever on digital banking services. In New Zealand, now in its seventh week of nationwide lockdown, one of the country’s largest lenders, Kiwibank, went down on Tuesday, leaving many of its customers in the lurch. It is one of a string of IT outages the bank has suffered over the past three weeks, after a DDoS attack on New Zealand’s third largest Internet provider caused IT crashes at a number of lenders, including Commonwealth Bank and Anz Bank.
In a DDoS attack, hackers overwhelm a site by getting huge numbers of bots to connect to it all at once, rendering it inaccessible. Servers are not breached, data is not stolen but it can still cause plenty of disruption.
24 Million Unhappy Customers
New Zealand is not the only country to have suffered major outages within its banking system in recent weeks. Other countries include the UK, Japan, South Africa, Venezuela and Mexico, though there are no doubt more (if you know of any, It would be great if you could provide details in the comments section).
On September 12, operating failures at Mexico’s largest bank, BBVA Mexico, left 24 million account holders unable to use the bank’s 13,000 ATMs, its mobile app or in-store payments for almost 20 hours. It being a Sunday, customers could not even avail of the lender’s in-branch cash services. The bank blamed the outage on a system update failure and has offered to compensate customers with cash bonuses on purchases when using their credit or debit cards. The bank was also at pains to assure them that their financial data was not compromised.