MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Cybercriminals recently launched a sophisticated attack on GCash, the widely-used digital payments app of Globe Telecom Inc., compromising the accounts of several users and executing a series of small but significant withdrawals.
The stolen funds, amounting to millions of pesos, were then transferred to two recipient bank accounts late Monday night.
Concerned users, who rely on GCash for their daily financial transactions, expressed their disappointment and shared their concerns on social media, especially as the GCash app experienced an outage until late Tuesday morning.
However, a high-ranking Globe official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to an ongoing internal investigation, revealed that GCash managed to thwart the cybercriminals’ efforts by detecting the pattern of small withdrawals. Initially estimated at P37 million, the suspicious transactions were promptly flagged and halted by GCash.
“The potential theft was prevented by GCash, which immediately implemented hold orders on the transfers once the pattern was identified,” stated the official.
The GCash app temporarily suspended its services at midnight but was successfully restored by 10 a.m. on Tuesday. The disruption impacted millions of Filipinos who heavily rely on the platform for various financial activities, including online shopping, bill payments, and public transport fares.
“We want to emphasize that our customers did not lose any funds on GCash. Rest assured, your funds are safe, secure, and will be fully returned,” affirmed the official.
GCash released an advisory stating, “We wish to reassure our customers that their funds are intact, safe, and secure with GCash.” The company remains committed to resolving the issue and reinforcing the robustness of its security measures to prevent future breaches.
GCash, the popular digital payments app, took action after observing a series of suspicious transactions involving transfers to two specific bank accounts: one in East West Banking Corp. and the other in Asia United Bank (AUB). As a result, the company issued a freeze order to prevent further transfers.
A well-placed banking source said about P9 million worth of questionable funds had been transferred from GCash to AUB on May 8.
Of these, AUB was able to hold P7 million, while P2 million had been withdrawn by the time the GCash alert was issued.
Initially appearing legitimate, these transfers raised suspicion as it was believed that the perpetrators had obtained user information through phishing techniques. However, GCash emphasized that the incident was not a hacking incident but rather a scheduled maintenance that was extended due to user complaints regarding balance deductions.
The company conducted an investigation during the extended maintenance period and concluded that no hacking had occurred. – WhatALife!/Jayve
Also read: GCash Assures Users of ‘No Fund Loss’ Amid Unauthorized Transaction Complaints
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