Turkish banks targeted by hackers: CEO

Turkish banks targeted by hackers: CEO

Turkish banks targeted by hackers: CEO

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Ziraat Bank CEO Hüseyin Aydın said foreign hackers recently launched a number of cyber-attacks against Turkish banks by creating e-mail traffic. 

Such attacks were made against the entire banking system, not only against Ziraat, noted Aydın, who is also the president of the Banks’ Association of Turkey.

“We have some resistance points against such attacks, but these walls can be bypassed from time to time. As you know, we never face a serious obstacle that obstructs our activities, but we are sometimes shaken.

There are a number of local and global authorities which test the banks’ capabilities in fighting against cyber-attacks, such as the banking watchdog of Turkey, which is the BDDK [Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency], the Fed in the U.S. or Bafin in Germany,” he said at a meeting with journalists on March 26 in the northwestern province of Bursa for the Uludağ Economy Summit. 

“If all banks in Turkey continue their operations, this shows they have all passed such tests with success,” Aydın added.

Aydın also refuted reports which claimed some banking transactions were audited in the bank’s New York branch upon concerns about the violation of money laundering or compliance regulations. 

He said the New York branch of the Fed found out that the data processing systems of Ziraat’s New York branch did not comply with customer information standards so the authority asked for the renewal of the system after a series of reviews back in 2009. He added that such reviews are made across the globe. 

“Our branch signed a deal on a pledge to renew the system. We needed to make it by 2013, but we failed. We sent our friends back to discuss the issue again. We then said, ‘We made such a promise, but we failed. We have few customers. Please, monitor our system again. We’ll renew it immediately at this time.’ The Fed New York accepted our offer and initiated fresh reviews in 2015. We have not received any document that showed our operations do not comply with international norms,” said Aydın.

He said the existing technologic deficiencies were handled. “Ziraat Bank operates in all parts of the world in accordance with the international standards as a leading Turkish brand. Some reports which suggested that Ziraat Bank did something that it actually didn’t have negatively affected our brand value,” he added. 

Aydın noted their New York branch mainly focused on corporate banking.