Tesco Bank suspends ‘all transactions’ as 20,000 customers lose money after hack attack

The banking arm of Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco was scrambling on Monday to deal with an online attack over the weekend on 40,000 customers’ accounts, 20,000 of which had money removed.

The hack is the first on a British bank known to have resulted in customers losing money, adding to growing concerns about the British financial sector’s vulnerabilities to cyberattacks, which have jumped in frequency over the past two years.

Tesco Bank, which manages 136,000 current accounts, stopped all online transactions while it worked to resume normal service, although customers could still use their bank cards in shops and to withdraw money from cash machines.

“Any financial loss that results from this fraudulent activity will be borne by the bank,” Tesco Bank Chief Executive Benny Higgins told BBC radio. “Customers are not at financial risk.

“We think it would be relatively small amounts that have come out but we’re still working on that,” he said, adding that he expected the cost of refunding customers would be “a big number but not a huge number.”