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Vulnerability in PNB server exposed customer data for about seven months: CyberX9

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NEW DELHI: A vulnerability in the server of Punjab National Bank allegedly exposed the personal and financial information of its about 180 million customers for about seven months, according to cyber security firm CyberX9.
CyberX9 has claimed that the vulnerability provided access to the entire digital banking system of PNB with administrative control.
Meanwhile, the bank has confirmed about the glitch but denied any exposure of critical data due to the vulnerability.
PNB said “customer data/applications are not affected due to this” and “server has been shut down as a precautionary measure.”
“Punjab National Bank kept severely compromising the security of funds, personal and financial information of over 180 million (all) its customers for about the last 7 months. PNB only woke up and fixed the vulnerability when CyberX9 discovered the vulnerability and notified PNB through CERT-In and NCIIPC,” CyberX9 founder and MD Himanshu Pathak told PTI.
He said CyberX9 research team discovered a very critical security issue in PNB which was leading to admin access to internal servers hence exposing a massive number of banks’ systems nationwide open for cyber-attacks for the last about seven months.
Pathak said that vulnerability was found in an exchange server which is interconnected with other exchanges and shares all access — including access to all email addresses which results in access to all email addresses.
“The vulnerability which we discovered was leading to the highest level of admin privilege in PNB’s exchange servers. If you gain access to Domain Controller through an exchange server then the doors very easily open to make any computer accessible in the network.
“These computers even include those that are being used in their branches and other departments,” Pathak said.
When contacted, PNB said the server in which the vulnerability was found had no sensitive or critical data.
“The server wherein the vulnerability was reported, was being used as one of the multiple Exchange Hybrid servers used to route emails from On-prim to Office 365 Cloud. There is no sensitive/critical data in this server,” PNB said.
PNB denied CyberX9 claim on impact of the vulnerability on customer’s data.
“The server is in a separate VLAN segment and customer data/applications are not affected due to this. Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing is done periodically by external Cert-in empanelled Information Security Auditors and the observations are complied with.
Now this server has been shut down as a precautionary measure,” PNB said.
According to CyberX9, the vulnerability was mitigated on November 19, and it reported the incident to Indian cyber security watchdog Cert-In and National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC).





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Services sector activity in November registers second-fastest pace of growth since July 2011: Survey

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NEW DELHI: Services sector activity expanded at the second-fastest pace in more than a decade during November, driven by sustained rise in new work and improvement in market conditions, a monthly survey said on Friday.
The seasonally adjusted India Services Business Activity Index was at 58.1 in November, fractionally down from 58.4 in October. The November figure points to the second-fastest rise in output since July 2011.
For the fourth straight month, the services sector witnessed an expansion in output. In Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) parlance, a print above 50 means expansion while a score below 50 denotes contraction.
“The recovery of the Indian service sector was extended to November, with a robust improvement in sales enabling the second-fastest rise in business activity in nearly ten-and-a-half years,” Pollyanna De Lima, economics associate director at IHS Markit, said.
Although companies forecast higher business activity volumes over the course of the coming year, the expansion is expected to be restricted by price pressures.
Amid reports of higher fuel, labour, material, retail and transportation costs, average input prices among Indian services companies rose further in November.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions reportedly caused a further drop in international demand for Indian services. The latest fall in external sales was the twenty-first in successive months although among the slowest over this period, the survey said.
As per the survey, private sector activity in India continued to expand, taking the current sequence of growth to four months.
The composite PMI output index — which measures combined services and manufacturing output — rose from 58.7 in October to 59.2 in November, signalling the strongest upturn since January 2012.
“Looking at the manufacturing and service sectors combined, the results are even more encouraging and bode well for economic performance in the third quarter of fiscal year 2021-22 so far. With production growth quickening considerably in November, private sector output expanded at the fastest pace since January 2012,” Lima said.
India’s GDP growth stood at 8.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2021-22 and surpassed the pre-Covid level, official data showed on Tuesday.





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ramachandran: Sandeep Ghosh to head Visa India; Ramachandran relocates to Singapore

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MUMBAI: International digital payments major Visa has announced new leadership for India and South Asia, with the incumbent TR Ramachandran being relocated to Singapore from next year to lead its newly created new payment flows business.
Ramachandran will be succeeded by Sandeep Ghosh, most recently a partner and leader of the financial services consulting practice at EY India, said Chris Clark, Visa Inc regional president.
Ramachandran joined Visa in 2015 to lead its business across India and South Asia.
Deutsche Bank India expands wealth management team
Deutsche Bank India has announced expansion of its wealth management team with a team of new hires, taking the total strength to over 15 in the past one year alone.
The additional hires are being made across the areas of relationship management and investment advisory, Amrit Singh, head of wealth management for South Asia said.
Among the new hires include Rajasekar Ayyalu who has joined as a director in Chennai where he will be responsible for expanding and deepening the bank’s presence. He joins from Julius Baer where he was an executive director prior to which he worked at Merrill Lynch and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
In addition to Rajasekar, four vice-presidents — Jai Bhatia, Sanyam Sharma , Anjali Vashisth and Manish Lalwani–have joined the Delhi and Mumbai offices as relationship managers, Atinkumar Saha, head of wealth management at Deutsche Bank India said.





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Net direct tax revenue rises 68% to Rs 6.92 lakh crore till November 23

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NEW DELHI: The net direct tax collection grew nearly 68 per cent during April 1 to November 23 to more than Rs 6.92 lakh crore, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said on Monday.
“The Net Direct Tax Collection figures for the FY- 2021-22 as on 23.11.2021 are at Rs 6,92,833.6 crores showing a growth of 67.93 per cent and 27.29 per cent over the net collection figures for the corresponding period FY2020-21 and FY 2019-20,” he said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
The net collection between April 1 – November 23 in 2020-21 and 2019-20 fiscals was over Rs 4.12 lakh crore and over Rs 5.44 lakh crore respectively.
The gross direct tax collection (before adjusting refunds) as of November 23 stood at over Rs 8.15 lakh crore, a 48.11 growth over the collections in the corresponding period in last fiscal.
Chaudhary further said that the gross GST collection in the current fiscal (April 2021-March’22) post Covid-19 outbreak is showing an increasing trend.
The gross GST collection for full 2020-21 ended March 2021 was over Rs 11.36 lakh crore, while the same in the current fiscal till October stood at Rs 8.10 lakh crore.
In reply to a separate question on whether incidents of tax evasion are increasing in Delhi and other parts of the country, Chaudhary said there is no evidence to suggest that incidents of income tax evasion are increasing in Delhi and other parts of the country.
“In terms of cases detected under Goods & Service Tax (GST) and Customs, there is no increasing trend in such evasion noticed in Delhi, although, there is overall increase in detection of GST and Customs evasion cases in the country,” he added.





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