Online caution

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Philippine banks are stepping up cybersecurity structures and awareness campaigns to increase the resilience of the banking industry against cyberattacks, the Bank Marketing Association of the Philippines announced.

Cyberthreats such as phishing and smishing are fast evolving and growing as scammers take advantage of the shifting consumer behavior amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

“Extraordinary times like the COVID-19 pandemic open up opportunities for fraudulent activities. Scammers are stepping up to take advantage of the quarantine period as a lot of workers yield to remote working and work-from-home arrangements to avoid contracting the virus,” BMAP said.

It urged the public to remain vigilant and confident in the banking industry’s cybersecurity measures against fraud attacks to ensure the delivery of secure and safe financial services.

To stay cybersafe, BMAP urged the banking public to avoid using shared networks or computers when doing financial or other sensitive transactions since hackers may access information. Bank clients are also encouraged to install and update the antivirus software on their devices.

It also warned against fake emails and social media accounts purporting to be from financial institutions and government agencies to obtain personal and account information for seemingly legitimate purposes. It added that opening or replying to unsolicited emails lets the sender know your address is valid and can be used for future scams.

BMAP also said clients should be cautious, particularly when making online payments by making sure the website is secured and to use strong passwords and preferably set a different password for each account.

The banking sector is working closely with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for collaborative measures to collectively safeguard the industry and financial consumers against cyberfraud and attacks.

With online banking becoming an integral part of the new normal, scammers have naturally kept up with the trend and will take advantage of all available vulnerabilities. The banking community and the BSP are trying to stay one step ahead by improving their cybersecurity systems but it is ultimately up to the consumer to exercise maximum caution to prevent being victimized when banking and conducting financial transactions online.*


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October 2020