Absa says some sensitive information leaked by employee

The bank declined to provide any information on the quantum of the leak as the investigation is ongoing

The Absa Group headquarters in Johannesburg.
The Absa Group headquarters in Johannesburg.

Absa Bank is pressing criminal charges against an employee who has subsequently been suspended for illegally accessing and sharing customer information with third parties, the bank said on Tuesday.

The development came to light following an article published in the Business Insider today that reported the bank has begun contacting clients to inform them that some of their information has been compromised.

In response to e-mailed questions, the group declined to provide any information on the quantum of the leak at this stage as the investigation is ongoing. It instead stuck by its description of “a very small portion” of its customer base when referring to how many customer accounts were compromised. 

Absa did confirm that some of the data unlawfully shared included sensitive information, as well as a mix of more marketing orientated data, BusinessLIVE reported. 

“The types of data that was shared includes, for example, names and surnames, ID numbers, physical addresses, bank account and/or credit card numbers, mobile contact numbers and vehicle details. The data that was shared does not include passwords or PIN codes,” the bank said.

Absa has enhanced the monitoring of customer accounts that have been affected to date, and are contacting customers directly,” it said.

It is understood that the employee did not breach the bank’s systems to obtain the information, but instead abused their position to access the data and provided it to third parties. 

On discovering the breach in late October, Absa suspended the employee and sought and obtained court orders to seize the employee’s devices. All customer data found on the employee’s devices has been destroyed.

This comes a few months after data pertaining to millions of customers, some of which included bank accounts, were fraudulently obtained from credit bureau Experian. 

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