Millions of bank customers in Norway were unable to bank online, withdraw money from automated teller machines or use their bank cards for point of sale purchases on Friday. The large company responsible for their banks’ technical services, Evry, was down for the count again, and other Evry customers were hit as well including Telenor and Norway’s postal service.
Evry insisted it had not suffered a data attack but rather the breakdown of a major component in a “core system” that hindered communication with such services as online banking, mobile banking and card payments.
Internal and external problems
The trouble began Thursday evening as the error started affecting banks large and small all over the country, including Skandiabanken, Sparebanken and many other small local savings banks. At Posten, Norway’s postal service, it was impossible to deliver packages. At least 250,000 customers and 10,000 companies were affected just at Sparebanken Vest alone.
Some banks also suffered problems internally and couldn’t handle account information. That meant that they couldn’t carry out deposits or withdrawals, transfers or have access to bank balance information. Ole B Larsen, communications chief at Skandiabanken, calle the problems “serious,” with more than 400,000 customers unable to conduct transactions.
‘Very, very unfortunate’
Most were able to use credit cards but debit cards encountered problems. “This is very, very unfortunate,” Larsen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Geir Remman, communications director at Evry, said the company was working closely with IBM, which delivered the core system, and hoped the problems would be solved heading into the weekend. One error was identified and corrected in the early afternoon, with services starting to return at some banks but not all. Remman apologized for all the trouble and said Evry personnel would be following the situation closely. By Saturday afternoon, most systems were running normally again.
Customers were assured that their money was safe, only their access to it was disrupted.