Computer Crime Research Center


Banks partner with telco to fight cybercrime

Date: August 26, 2022
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Lee C. Chipongian

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) and Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc. has formed a partnership to battle rampant cybercrime in the financial sector.

BAP president Antonio C. Moncupa Jr. on Friday, Aug. 26, said the 45-member banks of BAP has entered into an intelligence-sharing network agreement with the telecommunication company to curb the increasing incidents of cyber-related crime such as phishing and its variants, identity theft, and spam or fraudulent short message service (SMS) or text messages.

Moncupa said the partnership will enhance the banking sector’s “collective efforts in preventing cybercrime.”

“We continue to invest our efforts in ensuring every single Filipino will not be harmed by cybercriminals, and our MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Globe proves our dedication to this goal,” he said. BAP signed the MOU last Aug. 4.

Moncupa, who is also the CEO and vice chair of East West Banking Corp., said the MOU will also add to the measures already implemented by BAP in “taking down cybercriminals and holding them accountable for their actions.”

“This partnership will allow the sharing of information between Globe and the banks on the latest cybersecurity threats, which will allow banks to aptly develop the necessary solutions to counter them,” he also said.

Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu is confident the data sharing partnership will help banks to better detect fraud. “This will reduce limitations and streamline the collaborative process while ensuring compliance with the Data Privacy Act of the Philippines,” he said.

In a separate statement, Globe said the MOU encourages BAP member banks to coordinate with them to prevent the rising volume and complexity of financial crimes as digital payments and the shift to more online-only or mobile-only banking transactions increase.

Cybercrimes “severely impact consumers” in the financial, telecommunications, e-commerce and other industries.

It is not the first time that Globe has worked with big banks and online retailers to provide a 24/7 communication channel for the quick and efficient reporting, investigation, and blocking of any malicious activity. For the first six months of 2022, its anti-spam and security protocols blocked 138 million spam messages, over nine million bank-related spam messages, and 1,119 spam voice calls.

“We are continuously improving our anti-spam efforts. The partnership with BAP will strengthen our countermeasures against bank-related scams and spam,” said Cu.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has been urging all of its supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) to implement “robust” measures against cyber fraud and attacks on their retail electronic payments and financial services (EPFS).

The BSP has received almost 10,000 consumer complaints in 2021 and while not all are cyber-related, it is a significant chunk or rising threats against financial consumers, both online and offline.

The BSP has previously issued several memos to guide BSFIs in shielding EPFS against cybercrime such as regular risk assessments and by removing clickable links in communications sent to customers via electronic mail or email, and SMS.

Other control measures recommended by the BSP are: personalized SMS messages and emails for banking services; restrict bank officers or representatives from obtaining critical information such as customer passwords, one-time passwords, or personal information numbers; create dedicated customer assistance teams for fraud cases; conduct education campaigns against online scams; and adopt strong fraud surveillance mechanisms.

The BSP also enjoined BSFIs to coordinate with law enforcement authorities for the prompt resolution of cybercrimes, especially those involving public safety and security, pursuant to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and other relevant laws and regulations.

Most cyber incidents reported to the BSP target retail customers. These cyber criminals were not even “highly technical” or using advanced tools, said the BSP.

Based on the BSP’s cyber threats surveillance, in 2021 the top three types of cyber incidents reported by BSFIs were: phishing; “card not present” fraud; and identity theft.

The most common cyber fraud is phishing and other variants such as smishing and vishing. It leads to account takeover and social engineering attacks. These are intended to manipulate customers into disclosing sensitive personal and account information necessary to execute unauthorized transactions.

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