Tesco Bank's crisis PR gears are spinning into action following a significant cyber attack which has resulted in over 20,000 customers having cash withdrawn from their accounts fraudulently.
The bank has halted online payments from current accounts as a result of the security breach, during which 40,000 accounts saw suspicious transactions over the weekend, with half having money stolen. Current account customers will still be able to use their cards for cash withdrawals, chip and pin payments, and all existing bill payments and direct debits will continue as normal. The company said it is working hard to resume normal service on current accounts as soon "as possible."
The supermarket-owned firm confirmed the criminal activity in a statement published this morning (7 November), with chief executive Benny Higgins saying: "We apologise for the worry and inconvenience that this has caused for customers, and can only stress that we are taking every step to protect our customers’ accounts."
"We continue to work with the authorities and regulators to address the fraud and will keep our customers informed through regular updates on our website, twitter and direct communication.
"We can reassure customers that any financial loss as a result of this activity will be resolved fully by Tesco Bank, and we are working to refund accounts that have been subject to fraud as soon as possible," he finished.
Customers first noticed money disappearing from their accounts over the weekend, with some claiming that as much as £600 had been taken from them.
Many customers took to Twitter and Facebook to express their frustration at the bank's lack of response over the issues at the weekend.
@tescobankhelp not really. Up into the early hours because of Tesco Bank. £600 down and no answers from Tesco. Sort it out.
— Kev'sChords (@kevschords) November 6, 2016
@tescobankhelp Trying to find out what's going on with my bank account days only £1 available there should be more
— Susan Cox (@zarah1dog) November 6, 2016
@tescobankhelp What's the eta on a response on this fraud issue.No one answering phones overnight. Is it 24/7 as that's how long it takes to get through?
— Andrew Thomas (@attalking) November 6, 2016
Cyber security is currently a hot topic for brands following a series of major attacks. Just a few months ago it was revealed that in one of the largest hacks ever recorded, the personal information of some 500 million Yahoo users was stolen in late 2014 by a "state sponsored actor". Meanwhile a massive web attack in October saw dozens of major sites including Twitter, PayPal and the Wall Street Journal briefly come offline.