HSBC Holdings Plc’s Turkish unit said it lost 2.7 million customers’ bank data in a cyber-attack, after a similar security breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The hack resulted in the theft of data on cards and related bank accounts, Europe’s biggest lender said in an e-mailed statement. The breach is limited to Turkey and shouldn’t result in financial risk for customers, London-based HSBC said.
Government officials and security specialists around the world have said more needs to be done to prevent cyber-crime in the global financial system and protect customers after a series of high-profile hackings. JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, said last month 76 million households were affected by a data breach. EBay Inc. and Home Depot Inc. have also been attacked.
It’s hard to know whether this is Turkey’s worst security breach, said Selahaddin Karatas, founder of passwordless security company SAASPASS. The country hasn’t historically enforced a requirement to disclose data breaches to victims, unlike those in force in more than 40 U.S. states, he said.
“There have been breaches in the past, but because there was no obligation for transparency or disclosure it wasn’t really made public,” Karatas said by phone from San Francisco.
Cyber-attacks are rarer in many European countries than they are in the U.S. because of the prevalence of EMV, a system for authenticating bank card transactions, Karatas said.
Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and American Express Co. have given U.S. retailers and banks until October to adopt EMV — which requires either a signature or a personal identification number — or assume liability for some fraudulent transactions.
HSBC is working with the local banks regulator and the police to investigate the leak, it said in its statement. Pinar Turker, a spokeswoman for the bank in Istanbul, didn’t immediately return e-mailed requests for comment.
HSBC in June appointed James Emmett chief executive officer of its Turkey operations. The former global head of trade finance replaced Martin Spurling, who became head of retail banking in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The Turkish unit of HSBC made a loss of 41 million liras ($18 million) in the second quarter and hasn’t yet reported third-quarter results.
–With assistance from Richard Partington and Stephen Morris in London.