Security Experts:

P&N Bank Data Breach Exposes Trove of User Data

P&N Bank has notifed customers of a data breach that resulted in a large amount of sensitive information being compromised. 

According to information shared on Twitter by Australian security researcher @vrNicknack, the incident took place on December 12, 2019, during a server upgrade on a third-party hosting provider. 

P&N has since confirmed the incident.

The Australian bank, a division of Police & Nurses Limited, informed customers that unknown threat actors managed to access personal information stored within its customer relationship management (CRM) system. 

The affected system, P&N says in the notice, stored a great deal of personally identifiable information (PII), as well as other sensitive data, including names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, customer numbers, age, account numbers and balance, and other details, which the bank refers to as non-sensitive. 

Passwords, birthdate, health information, driver’s license numbers, passport numbers, social security numbers, tax file numbers, and credit card numbers were not included in the breach, the bank says. 

A P&N spokesperson confirmed to SecurityWeek that no customer bank accounts were ever accessed by the attackers in this incident.

“Upon becoming aware of the attack, we immediately shut down the source of the vulnerability,” P&N reveals. 

The bank also says that, because its core banking system is completely isolated from the impacted system, the data breach did not cause the loss of customer funds, that credit card details were not accessed, and that banking passwords were not exposed. 

P&N told customers it has already informed authorities on the incident. The bank says it has been working with West Australian Police Force (WAPOL), the involved hosting provider, expert advisers, and regulators on investigating the breach. 

The bank has yet to provide information on the type of attack it fell victim to and the number of affected customers. 

“The cyber incident at P&N Bank illustrates how organizations can be susceptible to data breaches through their third parties. In this case, the bank was performing a server upgrade when attackers stole data through a hosting provider,” Elad Shapira, Head of Research for Panorays, told SecurityWeek in an emailed comment. 

“Cyber-attacks such as this one, demonstrate why it’s not enough for organizations to assess their own systems; they must also assess the risk posed by connecting with third parties,” Shapira continued. 

*Updated with response from P&N

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