Friday, 23 November 2007

Was Natwest Bank hacked last week?

Last Friday night I popped out to the local cash machine to get some money. Lo and behold no cash! - but I got this message displayed instead stating "PRS Shutdown November 16" with a timestamp, and strangest of all what looked like a weird graphic of an ATM seemingly stripped back with gunshot effects overlaid. The graphic in particular, if it isn't a hack, looks like it's been designed to look like one.
Now I think we've all seen this with ATMs down before, usually it's a simple "out of service" message, and I've seen other run-time type errors - my favourite being what looked like a Visual Basic error dialogue I once saw on an HSBC terminal.
However, this one is a little strange - if it isn't a hack (and somehow I can't convince myself it was), it raises the spectre of a graphic designer somewhere in the depths of RBS being asked by his manager to design a holding page for system outage and coming up with something that is more inspired by Banksy than Natwest Bank brand manifesto.
Just what was the brief for this then - "Ok, the banking industry is suffering a bit of lack of public confidence at the moment, can you just knock up a quick design that looks as if the ATM has been broken into? That'll reassure people that their money is safe."

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