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“Cybersecurity incident” paralyzes Banco Pichincha’s online services

Published on October 12, 2021

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Banco Pichincha’s online services have been down since Saturday, October 9th

Complaints against Banco Pichincha have multiplied on social networks since Saturday, October 9, 2021: “Does anyone know if Banco Pichincha is going to come back one day? Who is responsible for the losses generated by these problems? When are they going to reestablish services,” wrote hundreds of users on Twitter. Three days have passed, and the bank’s online banking and ATMs are still not working. On Monday afternoon, October 11, Banco Pichincha finally spoke and said, through social networks, that it was due to a “cybersecurity incident in our computer systems.”

According to the bulletin, issued almost 72 hours after the stoppage of its online services, the company says that the technological problem “does not affect the financial performance of the bank.” However, Banco Pichincha did not say when the service will be restored. When requested to provide more information on the incident and the reactivation of electronic banking and ATMs, the entity replied that “it will communicate any information through its official channels.”

The Bank also said that its network of agencies, ATMs for cash withdrawals and credit card payments are operational. However, Jennifer Yánez, a user of the entity, tried to withdraw two hundred dollars from an ATM at one thirty in the afternoon today. “I have not been able to get my money from the bank for two days and I do not have accounts in other banks. Today I tried again, but it did not work. It is disrespectful, because I had to ask for permission from my job, spend money and there is still no service,” Yánez claims.

Valentina Vivanco also tried to withdraw a sum of money in an agency in the south of Quito but could not. “They told me there was no system, to come back later. I’m going to have to borrow money because I can’t come at any time, I have to work,” she angrily expressed. A Quito reporter approached the agency, located between Portugal and December 6 streets, and confirmed that the system does not work. First, they did not allow him to enter the entity. Then, he went in, and they explained that there was no system, that “it will probably arrive at three in the afternoon.” If the system doesn’t come back, they told him they will “try to get his cash out” to give it to him.

For now, Banco Pichincha says it has “taken immediate action” such as isolating the “potentially affected systems from the rest of the network” and seeking assistance from cybersecurity experts to “assist in the investigation.”

More problems at Banco Pichincha

It is not the first time that the security systems of the bank, one of the largest in the country, have been compromised. In February 2021, for example, Banco Pichincha admitted that there was a leak of information in the systems of one of its suppliers. On September 14th of this year, the institution said that “there was no information in these systems to carry out transactions and, therefore, the security of our clients’ financial resources has not been compromised at any time.”

However, the bank confirmed it after a security consultant affirmed, on February 8, 2021, on social networks that sensitive information of the entity had been leaked and was at risk. First, the bank denied it and said that there was no compromised data. However, on February 18, it finally confirmed the leak and said that it did occur, though not in its systems, but in those of a supplier.



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