BSP renews plea to pass anti-cybercrime law now

Published September 26, 2021, 10:00 PM

by Lee C. Chipongian

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is again calling for the immediate passage of an anti-cybercrime law for the enhanced protection of financial consumers.

BSP supports Senate bill to fight cybercrimes

In a statement over the weekend, the BSP said it “looks forward to working with the Senate on this legislative initiative.”

Senate Bill No. 2380 or the “Bank Account, E-wallet, and Other Financial Accounts Regulation Act” is a measure that “recognizes the need to protect the public from cybercriminals and syndicates who target bank accounts and e-wallets,” said the BSP.

“The legislative measure will strengthen the country’s legal framework for financial consumer welfare and foster greater public awareness on cybersecurity,” it added.

Since the pandemic began and because of mobility restrictions and lockdown, online transactions have significantly increased.

The BSP said passage of the bill will inspire confidence in the use of electronic payments more since it covers illegal activities such as phishing where a scammer posing as a legitimate or trusted entity obtains sensitive information by illegally accessing an individual’s online account. The bill will also prevent the opening of an e-wallet account under a fictitious name or using the identity or identification documents of another to receive and transfer or withdraw proceeds derived from a suspicious activity or cybercrime, said the BSP.

Around the “ber” months, the BSP would usually release several advisories for banks to have extra vigilance against cyber attacks, mainly phishing.

The BSP strongly advises banks to ensure that consumer assistance helpdesks or hotlines are made available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

BSP also wants increased surveillance on online banking systems and activities during holidays or long weekends and to timely block or suspend accounts reported by clients or those tagged as fraudulent or suspicious while ensuring that procedures to resolve disputes have quick turn-around-time.

With COVID-19 pandemic and the increase use of digital services, the BSP considers phishing attacks as one of the top cyber risks lurking behind digital payments and financial services.

Cybercriminals are using more platforms and tactics such as phishing emails, SMS phishing, SMS spoofing and voice phishing including social media channels to gain unauthorized access to financial resources.