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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Faulty network device was the cause of OCBC's system failure

Sep 21, 2011 6:00 AM

SINGAPORE - A faulty network device caused OCBC Bank's system to crash on the morning of Sept 13, paralysing banking services for many of its customers.

In a statement yesterday, OCBC chief executive David Conner said after reviewing several possible causes, the bank's information technology team had isolated a "network device that did not function well".

"This device acted in combination with a parameter setting in the main banking system to trigger a suspension of the system's network communications. This situation in turn affected our ATM network, branches, and Internet and mobile banking channels islandwide," Mr Conner said.

The technical problem caused OCBC's banking channels "to go down from 9am for more than three hours - services were restored progressively from 12.20pm and were fully operational by 1pm", he added.

OCBC Bank is Singapore's second-largest lender, with 56 branches and more than 600 ATMs around the island.

Mr Conner said the bank's IT team took the time to identify the fault, simulate it and repeat the simulation to ensure that they had identified the exact cause of the problem.

"This deliberate process was followed so as to ensure that we rectified the problem correctly and, in so doing, would prevent any future recurrence," he added.

Over the weekend, the bank's technology operations had been returned from its backup system to the main system.

"The service outage did not meet our commitment of having our channels operating for our customers at all times. This is unacceptable. Again, I apologise to all our customers for any inconvenience that this incident caused them," said Mr Conner.

He had earlier assured the bank's customers that "all customer data was protected with appropriate security measures throughout the period of service disruption".

Meanwhile, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it had informed OCBC Bank's senior management that it took "a serious view" of the Sept 13 incident. "MAS notes OCBC's explanation for the failure and will review its investigation report on the incident. MAS will also assess the outcome of this investigation before determining the appropriate regulatory action to take," it said yesterday.

Ref:itoday news

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