Absa data leak

Image via Adobe Stock

Absa employee leaks customer data to group of external parties

The leaked data relates to a small portion of Absa South Africa’s customer base. Investigations are continuing.

Absa data leak

Image via Adobe Stock

Absa has experienced a data leak after one of its employees unlawfully made selected customer data available to a number of external parties. In a statement received via email, a spokesperson told The South African, that the leaked data relates to a small portion of Absa South Africa’s customer base. 

The bank has also chosen to refer to the incident as a “data leak” rather than as a “breach”. 

“Our systems were not breached,” the spokesperson indicated. 


Upon discovering the contravention, the bank secured High Court orders that enabled search and seizure operations at various premises and secured all devices containing the data. 

“The data on these devices was subsequently destroyed,” the spokesperson said. 

It has also enhanced the monitoring of customer accounts that have been affected to date, and are contacting customers directly.

“Absa has brought criminal charges against the employee, and internally the requisite consequence management has been undertaken. Absa may take further action in relation to the recipients of the data once the full scope of the leak is identified and all investigations are completed,” it said. 

“Absa has put in place additional control measures to minimize the risk of recurrence in future,” it added. 


Back in September, Absa Group Limited’s Cybersecurity team was named the ‘Not for Profit Team of the Year’ at the 2020 Cyber Security Awards. 

The award was made in recognition of Absa’s role in the Absa Cybersecurity Academy, a collaboration with the Maharishi Institute, that provides marginalised youth with the opportunity to become certified cybersecurity specialists. The Johannesburg-based academy was expanded in August with the launch of a Cape Town leg.

Absa’s Group Chief Security Officer, Sandro Bucchianeri, was ‘highly commended’ in the Cybersecurity industry ‘Personality of the Year’ category, which recognises efforts to promote the sector.

“Cybersecurity has evolved rapidly into one of the most important areas in the banking sector. Absa, therefore, considers it as critical that we have top resources looking after this area,” said Absa Group Chief Executive: Engineering Services Paul O’Flaherty.  

“As a CSO, one dreams of leading a phenomenal team and being recognised in an international awards programme,” said Bucchianeri. “I’m exceptionally proud of my team, and we look forward to doing more to support the development of the industry while uplifting the communities in which Absa operates.”