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September, 25, 2016

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FSC asks First Financial to ensure security after hack

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC, 金管會), the country's top financial regulator, said Friday that it had instructed First Financial Holding Co. (第一金) to ensure transaction security, in a bid to protect clients and investors after the company's securities and banking units reported attacks by hackers on their online transaction systems earlier this week.

The FSC said it would tighten its supervision of First Financial on the operations of its online transactions, adding that should any irregularities in the online trading system be discovered, the company must immediately inform its clients and investors and come up with measures to deal with the situation.

First Commercial Bank, the flagship banking unit of First Financial, reported to the FSC that its online banking services had been hacked Sept. 21, so that its clients could be served online, the FSC said.

The following day, First Securities, a wholly owned subsidiary of First Financial, reported to the FSC that its online trading system had been attacked so that the brokerage could not provide online trading services and its clients could not place orders online.

According to the FSC, both First Securities and First Bank were attacked by hackers who used DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) to significantly slow down the speed of their online services, a move that caused the two institutions' online services to fail.

After efforts to repair the damage, First Bank's online personal banking system returned to normal early Thursday, while its online corporate banking system completely recovered by later in the day, the FSC said.

For its part, First Securities' online trading system was back to normal Thursday evening. The Taiwan Stock Exchange said that the attack on First Securities was an isolated case, since the exchange found no other brokerages to have suffered similar online trading irregularities.

There was no clue as to where the hacker attacks originated, but fortunately, Financial Holding reported no losses resulting from the cyberattacks.

The attacks caught the attention of investors, since the financial holding firm reported the theft of more than NT$83 million (US$2.65 million) from First Bank ATMs through hackers in July.

A total of 22 suspects from six countries were involved in the high-profile ATM theft, and 19 suspects who escaped have been put on a wanted list, with the other three having been indicted in Taiwan.

After an intensive search by police, nearly NT$5.79 million of the stolen cash is still unaccounted for.

The FSC said that it would continue to monitor the possible aftermath of the latest cyberattacks.

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