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RBS Confirms Weekend Online Banking Outage

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RBS has confirmed that its online banking service is back and working, after failing at the weekend

Thousands of customers were locked out of their online bank accounts at the weekend, after RBS admitted that “major system changes” were responsible for downing the online banking services of RBS and Natwest customers.

RBS told eWEEK Europe in an emailed statement that the problems started overnight on Friday but then lasted for most of Saturday. It said that its ATM network, as well as its mobile, credit and debit card operations were not affected.

“We experienced systems problems throughout the day on Saturday which affected our customers and apologise for any inconvenience caused. Online banking and telephony are now running largely as normal,” said RBS.

Upgrade Issue?

The bank, which is now majority owned by the British taxpayer, said the problem was caused by what it termed a ‘major system change’, most likely to be some form of system update or a maintenance upgrade.

“The issues emerged as a result of major system changes that took place overnight on Friday,” said RBS. “We are disappointed that we were not able to fully resolve all of the issues in the timescales that we wanted. Additional resources were mobilised, including extra staff in our branches on Saturday with a number of our branches extending their opening hours.”

“We will keep our customers fully informed and apologise once again for the inconvenience this has caused,” it added. “Customers who faced inconvenience as a result of these problems should contact us in the usual way. We will refund all charges applied as a result of this weekend’s problems.”

Online banking failures such as this are unfortunately not uncommon.

Mainframe Failure

Last week HSBC admitted that a mainframe failure was the reason for a significant failure of its banking network, which resulted in online systems crashing, cash machines stopping working and cards being rejected. This mirrors a previous mainframe failure way back in January 2010.

HSBC has also been previously subjected to question marks over some of the security measures it uses to protect online banking customers, including the decision to allow ID information to be saved.

These concerns come at a time of increasing security threats posed by organised cyber criminal gangs.

Earlier this month for example an investigation by Metropolitan Police Central eCrime Unit resulted in two Ukranian ringleaders being among 13 people jailed for an online banking fraud that infected computers with malware, which allowed them to steal £2.9 million from hundreds of people.

And it seems that people’s patience with outages and failures is wearing a little thin.

A recent survey from Unisys for example found that consumers are increasingly willing to take action against organisations if their personal information is compromised by a security breach.