BSP: Despite cyberattacks, the banking system is “safe”

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Banks and the BSP work together to strengthen the defense against cybercrime.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), keeping money and transacting through banks remains “generally safe” given that customers affected by cybercrimes represent an insignificant fraction of the market.

“I think it’s still generally safe to use our banking system. We do not underestimate the losses suffered by customers who have been unduly affected by this [BDO hacking] incident,” said Melchor Plabasan, director of BSP’s technology risk and innovation oversight department.

“We have verified the number of accounts, which have been compromised, not only with this incident, but some of the [previous] incidents, and that’s still well under one percent of the total market size,” Plabasan said at a press briefing.

He said the chances of being a victim of cybercrime “are very slim”. When asked for details, Plabasan said the stats were not yet available.

“But, again, we’re working with the industry to make sure the losses [sustained by customers] will be reimbursed and that the industry will continuously upgrade its security systems,” added Plabasan.

Additionally, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the regulator is leading major policy initiatives to further strengthen cyber defenses and the overall resilience of the financial system amid increased digitalization in the Philippines.

Diokno said that the BSP was about to issue a circular requiring the adoption of robust fraud management systems and the temporary holding of funds as part of the enhanced due diligence (EDD) of OSFIs, referring to the institutions financial services supervised by PASB.

“As digital transformation and cyber threats evolve simultaneously, we are working closely with [BSFIs] and stakeholders on pioneering and coherent solutions to promote innovation while ensuring the security and resilience of the financial system,” said the head of BSP.

Diokno added that, along the same lines, the BSP, in coordination with banking associations, recently published an industry handbook development guide on ransomware.

Developed in the wake of recent high-profile cases involving ransomware in the United States and other parts of the world, the industry guide contains best practices and recommended controls to help businesses effectively manage ransomware attacks .

In addition, BSP is also developing the Financial Services Cyber ​​Resilience Plan (FSCRP) which will serve as the primary and consistent framework to promote trust and cooperation, intelligence sharing, and adoption of cybersecurity best practices and standards among the OSFIs.

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