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Tesco Bank suspends online transactions after massive hack

Tesco Bank has made the decision to freeze all of its customers' online transactions after falling victim to a cyber attack over the weekend.

So far, Tesco has openly admitted that 40,000 accounts were hacked, with around half of those targeted losing money to the cyber criminals behind the attack. The CEO of the company's banking division, Benny Higgins, has since stopped all online transactions in an emergency security measure with the intention of protecting customers from losing more money.

Higgins explained the need for the emergency security measure while apologising to Tesco Bank's customers, 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. That is why, as a precautionary measure, we have taken the decision today to temporarily stop online transactions from current accounts.”

Tesco Bank is currently working law enforcement and regulators in order to investigate how the security breach occurred and who was behind the hack. Higgins noted that customers will once again be able to make transactions online “when we are on top of the issue.” Until that time however, Tesco Bank customers will still be able log on to their accounts to view their statements and use their debit and credit cards to withdraw money and make payments.

At this time, very little is known regarding how the cybercriminals were able to access the bank's systems. According to Tesco, its own security systems began to detect suspicious activity from a number of accounts “late on Saturday night and in the early hours of Sunday morning.”

When it came to who was behind the attacks, Higgins did not wish to speculate before the matter was investigated further, saying: “In the modern world it is impossible to be totally impregnable. We are in dialogue with the national crime agencies and with the financial conduct authority.” 

Image Credit: Darren Grove / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.