Greek Banks Cancel 15,000 Credit, Debit Cards Over Tourist Site Hack


(File photo by Eurokinissi/Giannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS - With hacking becoming nearly impossible to stop, Greece’s biggest four banks said they will cancel and replace as many as 15,000 debit and credit cards after details of users were infiltrated on a Greek online tourist services portal they wouldn’t identify.

Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, Eurobank and the National Bank of Greece said that while only a few dozen uses had been compromised that they weren’t taking any chances and decided to replace all cards that had even a single transaction.

It wasn’t revealed how big the data breach was or what kind of information was gleaned by the hackers or how it happened, including whether there was any cybersecurity in place on the portal.

A probe is ongoing but likely won’t be done until the end of March, said Kathimerini, and is looking into whether the undisclosed website - which books airline and ferry tickets, hotels, cars and travel insurance - adheres to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) requirements.

If it fully complies then the investigation will seek to clarify how the leak occurred, the report said while the banks said they notified the central Bank of Greece as well as Visa and MasterCard, who are also investigating how and what happened.

Bank executives said the immediate activation of security methods will keep whatever costs they incur “manageable,” although it wasn’t said if any of those whose information was hacked would be affected or charged.