Gatchalian urges banks: Invest more on modern security banking solutions

Published December 14, 2021, 9:56 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalin on Tuesday urged the banking industry to invest more on modern security banking solutions to induce confidence among financial consumers.

Rather than telling the public how to avoid being a victim of cybercriminals, Gatchalian said banks should prioritize the protection of consumers’ assets against scammers and hackers by investing in better cybersecurity services to prevent hacking incidents.

“Bukod sa pagbibigay babala sa publiko kung paano nila maiiwasan na maging biktima ng cyber criminals, dapat mamuhunan din ang mga bangko pagdating sa mga makabagong security features o banking software solutions para makampante ang kanilang mga kliyente (Besides giving the public advise on how they can avoid being a victim of cyber criminals, banks should also invest more on the latest security features or banking software solutions to allay the fears of their clients,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

The vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies further said the banks have the responsibility to be vigilant especially if there are unusual transactions that are happening during wee hours, weekends and holidays.

“Dapat maging mapagmatyag ang mga bangko lalo na kung kahina-hinala ang dami ng mga transaksyon na nangyayari kapag dis-oras ng gabi (Banks should be observant especially if it comes across multiple transactions that happen during the night),” he said.

“Dapat isaalang-alang nila na red flag na ito at maaaring kagagawan na ito ng mga scammers o hackers (They should consider these as red flag and could be done by scammers and hackers),” he added.

Gathcalian made the call after the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) issued a statement reminding clients never to give their personal information, such as their one-time password (OTP), to other people to avoid being a victim of cybercrime in the wake of mounting social media complaints claiming online accounts in BDO Unibank were hacked.

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) found the BAP’s statement problematic, as it shows how banks are putting the blame on customers instead of taking responsibility for the unauthorized fund transfers.

“Privacy and cyber self-management must be matched with greater accountability from banks. Banks must work toward building cyber resilience instead of putting the blame on customers,” said NPC chief Raymund Liboro in an interview.

“Socially engineered cybercrimes rely on human weaknesses and instincts—the same instincts that banks rely on in promoting their own products and services,” Liboro said.

Gatchalian said that while the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) already assured the public it is already coordinating with the concerned banks to ensure that affected clients are reimbursed, increased vigilance could have prevented the scale of victims.

The lawmaker warned the latest incident would not only promote public distrust in banking institutions but also cause a dent in the efforts to ramp up digitization of public services in the country.

“Banks rely on customers’ trust and loyalty and if these hacking incidents become pervasive, there will be a high level of distrust in the financial services, banks in particular,” Gatchalian said.