NBC says it will take ‘procedural action’ after ABA outage

Cambodia’s central bank says it will take ‘procedural action’ against ABA after a systems crash on Thursday left customers unable to use ATMs, cards and mobile banking services.

The National Bank of Cambodia issued a statement on Friday saying:

“On Thursday, November 25, 2021, ABA Bank’s technical system experienced a malfunction from 3:00 am until now. This has caused inconvenience and consequences for the public in using ABA Bank’s banking services. The National Bank of Cambodia has been working closely with the Bank to expedite the settlement process.

The National Bank of Cambodia would like to remind all banking and financial institutions to pay attention to the implementation of the notification No. BK.07.019.575 on the implementation of the guidelines on information technology risk management. July 22, 2019, which requires each institution to resolve any technical problems within 2 hours at most. In the case of ABA Bank, the National Bank of Cambodia will find out more about the source of the problem and will take procedural action.”

NBC said it would continue to encourage the public to use electronic payment services because of their efficiency and ease of use.

ABA provided a series of updates on its Facebook page and kept branches open for an extra hour on Thursday night.

“𝐔𝐩𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐞: 𝐀𝐥𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞…We are working hard to finalize the system upgrade and will try to bring the services back to you very soon. Again, our sincere apologies for the inconvenience it causes.”

“Update. Almost back in full swing…Teams are working on completing the installation of our system capacity to get all services fully operational soon. Once again, we apologize to all our customers for any inconvenience. Thank you for your understanding sorry.”

“𝐖𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤! Dear customers, our systems are now back to normal and you can keep using all ABA products and services as usual. For additional convenience, we extended the working hours for our regular branches from 4.00 PM to 5.00 PM today.” the updates said.

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However, a customer call representative told Khmer Times on Friday morning that although ABA mobile services had been restored ATMs and card services were still unavailable. He said he hoped they would be working in the afternoon. When asked for the reason behind the outage he said “I cannot inform details,” and declined to provide contact numbers for a spokesperson or the maintenance department.

Association of Banks in Cambodia Chairman In Channy acknowledged but did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

ABA has 79 branches across the country, more than 280 self-banking machines and over 470 ATMs and boasts “advanced online banking and mobile banking platforms.”

ABA Mobile promises 24/7 banking, instant account opening, scan and pay services, international money transfers along with balance checks, bill paying, and mobile phone top-up services.

ABA is a subsidiary of National Bank of Canada

It was a tough week for Asian banks trying to encourage customers to use cashless services. Singapore’s DBS bank also apologised after a two-day disruption to its digital banking operations, which it said was not due to a cyber-attack.

“Although our digital banking services have returned to normal, the inability to access an essential service over such an extended period of time is unacceptable,” the bank said in a Facebook post.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said that it will consider “appropriate supervisory actions” after a DBS investigation, according to Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper.

While there is no evidence of a cyber-attack in either of these cases there is growing concern about the number of attacks on banks. The industry experienced a 1,318 percent year on year increase in ransomware attacks in the first half of this year, according to a report by Trend Micro.

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