Venezuelan Intelligence Services Arrest Credicard Directors

The company’s top management are accused of having deliberately promoted a system failure in their online payment services in a bid to destabilise the government. 

By Rachael Boothroyd-Rojas

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(Credibank.com.ve)
(Credibank.com.ve)
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Caracas, December 5, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro confirmed Saturday that the state intelligence service SEBIN arrested several directors from the Credicard financial transaction company on Friday night. 

The financial consortium is accused of having deliberately taken advantage of a series of cyber attacks on state internet provider CANTV Friday to paralyse its online payment platform–responsible for the majority of the country’s accredited financial transactions, according to its website. 

“We have proof that it was a deliberate act what Credicard did yesterday. Right now the main people responsible for Credicard are under arrest,” confirmed the president. 

The government says that millions of attempted purchases using in-store credit and debit card payment machines provided by the company were interrupted after its platform went down for the most part of the day. Authorities also maintain that the company waited longer than the established protocol of one hour before responding to the issues.  

Cyber Attacks  

According to CANTV President Manuel Fernandez, Venezuela’s internet platform suffered at least three attacks from an external source on Friday, one of which was aimed at state oil company PDVSA. CANTV was notified of the attacks by international provider LANautilus, which belongs to Telecom Italia. 

Nonetheless, Fernandez denied that Credicard’s platform was affected by the interferences to CANTV’s service, underscoring that other financial transaction companies that rely on the state enterprise continued to be operative.  

“From the early hours of the morning, when we were informed that the platform was presenting failures, we responsibly assessed our internal networks and all services, and particularly that which we provide services to them [Credicard],” said the CANTV head.

“During the whole day we accompanied Sudeban and Credicard technicians in detecting bugs and identifying if there was any way that CANTV was impacting [the system failure], which determined that there was nothing that could be attributed to the state telephone company,” he concluded. 

Political Connections

On Friday SEBIN Director Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez also openly accused members of the rightwing coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), of being implicated in the incident. 

“Members of the MUD involved in the attack on electronic banking service,” he tweeted.  

“The financial war continues inside and outside the country, internally they are damaging banking operability,” he added.  

Venezuelan news source La Iguana has reported that the server administrator of Credicard is the company Dayco Host, which belongs to the D’Agostino family. Diana D’Angostino is married to veteran opposition politician, Henry Ramos Allup, president of the National Assembly. 

On Saturday, the government-promoted Productive Economy Council held an extraordinary meeting of political and business representatives to reject the attack on the country’s financial system.