Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Fraudsters may have taken data at CIBC's online bank Simplii and BMO

Fraudsters may have taken data at CIBC's online bank Simplii and BMO

CIBC-owned Simplii Financial was the first to announce on Monday morning that fraudsters had accessed the personal and account information of more than 40,000 of the bank's customers.

Bank of Montreal did not reveal how many customers might have had their data compromised but said it believes to have closed the hackers' point of entry into its systems. BMO is recommending that customers monitor their accounts and notify BMO with any suspicious activity. Royal Bank, Scotiabank and Toronto-Dominion Bank said they have no indication they were affected.

Kumar said that the big question in this incident is if this is a breach of the bank or a breach via other means. The bank plans to reach out to customers who may be affected, and said it has implemented "enhanced online fraud monitoring and online banking security measures".

The OPC has not opened a formal investigation.

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While reports indicate the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has been notified, no official statement has been made at this stage. In January, Bell Canada warned some of its customers that their information, such as names and email addresses, had been illegally accessed in a data breach. There is now no indication that clients who bank through CIBC have been affected. "But this is deeper financial information". It's not clear if they are trying to extort money from the banks in exchange for not publishing the data, and if so, how much they are requesting.

"Immediately upon learning of the potential issue, Simplii began investigating to understand the claim and verify its accuracy", the bank said.

Hackers have threatened to release personal information for almost 100,000 customers of two Canadian banks unless the lenders paid a $1-million United States ransom for its safe return. CIBC had provided the back-end banking services for PC Financial for almost 20 years, but last August the bank struck a deal with PC's parent company Loblaw to go their separate ways.

Cybersecurity expert Satyamoorthy Kabilan at the Conference Board of Canada says cyber incidents overall are skyrocketing and companies need to work to improve resiliency in the event of attack.

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