Absa has continued to send notifications to more customers impacted by a data leak in October 2020.
Customers have told MyBroadband they received emails from the bank this past week informing them the leak also impacted them.
“Following Absa’s announcement of an isolated data leak in November 2020, and a resultant independent forensic investigation, we have now identified more compromised data and are contacting impacted customers directly,” it states.
“Unfortunately, this leak encompassed some of your personal information, including your identity, contact details and transactional account number,” the bank added.
The leak, which an Absa employee orchestrated, resulted in the exposure of customer data that included identity numbers, contact details, addresses, and account numbers.
The employee, who served as a credit analyst, had been caught selling the private information of retail banking clients to third parties.
He was subsequently dismissed and criminally charged, and Absa notified the Information Regulator about the issue.
In its initial acknowledgement of the breach in November 2020, the bank labelled the incident as “isolated” and claimed it affected a “limited number of customers”.
Absa chief security officer at the time, Sandro Bucchianeri, later revealed the bank believed the information of 200 000 customers was exposed. For reference, Absa had around 9.7 million customers as of September 2020.
Bucchianeri left Absa in June 2021 and joined National Australia Bank as chief security officer.
Number of new accounts impacted unclear
The latest notification is at least the second time since the initial notice that Absa has informed additional impacted customers their details were exposed in the leak.
In April 2021, Absa sent a similar email to customers it had determined were also impacted.
An Absa spokesperson told MyBroadband independent investigations were ongoing, and the bank continued to reach out to customers as new information came to light.
“Throughout this process, we have taken extra precautions and heightened monitoring of customer accounts,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson did not respond to a question about exactly how many impacted customers had been added to the original tally of 200,000.
Absa advised customers suspecting suspicious activity on their accounts to contact its fraud hotline on 0860 557 557.
The bank also offers a free digital fraud warranty for customers that use its mobile app.