British Tesco Bank just suspended all online transactions following what appears to be an unprecedented attack on a retail banking outfit. Tesco initiated the "emergency security measure" after 40,000 of its 136,000 account holders had seen "suspicious transactions" and 20,000 account holders had money disappear from their accounts, a Tesco bank executive told ITV News.
"Tesco Bank can confirm that, over the weekend, some of its customers' current accounts have been subject to online criminal activity, in some cases resulting in money being withdrawn fraudulently," the company wrote in a statement. Online banking fraud typically targets individual accounts, but an attack of this size and scope may be unprecedented.
For reasons that are unclear, this suspension only effects online transactions, and customers are still able to use the bank's other services, like withdrawing money from an ATM. The bank executive told ITV that customers would be refunded "as soon as possible".
Meanwhile, angry customers are flooding Tesco's Twitter account.
@floodstev Hi Stev, I’m sorry you’ve had trouble contacting us we are experiencing extremely high call volumes just now 1/3
— Tesco Bank Help (@tescobankhelp) November 7, 2016
— Kirsty Brown (@kirstyktweet) November 6, 2016
— Gavin (@impishgavin) November 7, 2016
It's unclear how an attacker was able to drain money from 20,000 accounts as Tesco or British authorities have yet to provide any information.