Bank’s confidence in handling cyber-threats declines in 2020“

LOCAL banks’ confidence in handling cyber financial threats slightly declined in 2020 as digital payments surged in the midst of lockdowns and movement restrictions to curb the pandemic.

A recent Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) survey showed that only 58.3 percent of banks are “prepared” to handle and manage cyber security threats (cyber-threats). This is lower from 59.7 percent of banks that indicated preparedness to handle and manage cyber-threats in end-December 2019.

The top 6 cyber-threats that concern banks include cyber-attacks—or attacks that aim to disrupt the banks system, steal money and steal their IP Address, direct hacking, malware, fraud, phishing and insider attacks.

Overall, 75 percent of surveyed banks said financial losses are the most worrisome impact of cybercrime events. This is followed by breaches on customer data and reputational risk.

The BSP earlier reported that based on the Reports on Crimes and Losses filed by banks during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) covering the period 15 March to 18 May 2020, 98.4 percent of all criminal incidents reported were classified as cyber or online in nature.

This resulted in losses of P60.6 million or 54.5 percent of all total bank losses during the two-month period.

Broken down, 80.5 percent of all cyber incidents reported were credit card and Internet banking-related, accounting for 79 percent of total losses.

The BSP said the majority of these threats were in the form of phishing emails and malicious websites, some even disguised as Covid-19 campaigns.

Data showed that threats on malicious websites peaked at the onset of the ECQ period in March, mimicking global trends, while phishing emails peaked in April.

“The disruption caused by the lockdown offered cybercriminals a unique opportunity to exploit the vulnerabilities in systems, networks, and applications used in remote working arrangements,” the central bank said in a report on the status of the Philippines banking system.

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