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BSP flags systemic implications of major cyberattacks

THE CENTRAL BANK received about 20,000 complaints, mostly related to fraud and unauthorized transactions, from financial consumers in 2020. — RAWPIXEL.COM-FREEPIK

THE central bank warned that a major cyberattack could affect the stability of the financial system, but vowed to remain vigilant against new cyberthreats.

“The possibility of a major cyberattack may have possible contagion effects or systemic implications in the Philippine financial system,” Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said at an online briefing.

“At this moment, a BSP-supervised financial institution may assess its cybersecurity defense as robust, but they may instantly change due to the highly evolving cyberthreat landscape,” he added, noting cybersecurity is a continuing battle.

The central governor said financial institutions should reassess their spending on cybersecurity as more users shift to digital transactions.

“We continue to keep up with the digitalization move all over so naturally we have to allocate enough money to do that, to be up-to-date,” Mr. Diokno said.

Mr. Diokno earlier said the BSP received about 20,000 complaints from financial consumers in 2020, with the majority of the complaints related to fraud and unauthorized transactions.

A study by the Anti-Money Laundering Council on financial crime trend from March 16 to Aug. 31, 2020 showed cases such as skimming, phishing, and unauthorized transactions made up 49% of suspicious transaction reports in the first few months of the pandemic.

“The BSP and its supervised financial institutions will remain vigilant in ensuring the cyber resilience of our payment and financial system,” Mr. Diokno said.

The BSP has been working with both local and international regulators and agencies to monitor the emergence of systemic risks during the crisis. These risks refer to the possibility of company-level events that could cause instability or collapse to the industry or the economy as a whole. — Luz Wendy T. Noble

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