Banks Increase Investment in Cybersecurity Amid Rising Attacks

Philippine banks are intensifying their spending on cybersecurity in response to a surge in cyber threats targeting financial consumers, according to industry experts.

During a panel discussion at the 2nd Management Association of the Philippines ICT Summit, Land Bank of the Philippines Chief Information Technology Security Officer and Information Security Officers Group President Archieval B. Tolentino emphasized the significant investments being made by banks to enhance cybersecurity measures. He highlighted that while banks themselves may not always be the primary targets, customers are often vulnerable to cyber threats.

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky reported that the Philippines experienced the highest number of financial-related phishing attempts on business devices in the Southeast Asian region in 2023, with 163,279 incidents. Financial phishing involves fraudulent schemes related to banking, payment systems, and online shopping.

Mr. Tolentino recounted an incident where cybercriminals created a fake Facebook page offering financial assistance on behalf of a bank, ultimately tricking victims into sending money to receive the fictitious aid.

Nilo C. Zantua, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., emphasized the growing importance of cybersecurity, particularly with the surge in online banking activities during the pandemic. He stressed the need for robust policies and strategies to address cybersecurity risks and comply with regulatory requirements.

As the Philippine economy continues its digital transformation, Cristina S. Ulang, Head of Research at First Metro Investment Corp., underscored the critical role of cybersecurity in safeguarding banking transactions. She highlighted the need for banks to proactively address cybersecurity threats to protect against potential risks and capitalize on digital opportunities.

Ronald B. Gustilo, National Campaigner for Digital Pinoys, emphasized the importance of banking institutions hiring skilled professionals to combat cyber threats effectively. He noted that increased investments in cybersecurity provide customers with confidence in the security of their transactions.

In conclusion, the escalating cyber threats targeting financial consumers underscore the necessity for banks to prioritize cybersecurity investments to protect against potential risks and ensure the safety of digital transactions. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, robust cybersecurity measures are essential to safeguarding the integrity of banking systems and enhancing consumer trust.