Bankers, DOJ hope to be ‘a step ahead’ of cybercriminals
The banking community is hoping that a strong partnership with the Department of Justice (DOJ) would keep it “one step ahead” of criminals increasingly exploiting cyberspace to steal money from digital accounts.
“The most effective deterrent against cybercrimes is a no-holds-barred enforcement and prosecution that will put these cybercriminals in jail for good. The BAP (Bankers Association of the Philippines) and DOJ are unified in this mission,” BAP president Jose Arnulfo Veloso said at Friday’s signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between BAP and the DOJ.
“Through this MOU, both parties are assured to be kept abreast of the latest developments in cybersecurity, to better protect the banking industry and the general public from fraudulent activities in cyberspace,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said, adding:
“It is a well-known fact that incidents of cybercrime increased significantly during the pandemic, especially … financial-related cybercrimes, such as online fraud and phishing emails.”
The agreement should provide a “solid framework and promote a genuine atmosphere of collaboration and alliance” between the two bodies, Guevarra said.
Under that partnership, BAP committed to organize an information campaign and other activities to raise public awareness on cybertheft. It will also orient DOJ personnel on the latest trends and developments in cybersecurity.
Also speaking to reporters at the event, Ramon Jocson, BAP cybersecurity committee vice chair and executive vice president of Bank of the Philippine Islands, said banks could harness their high-valued cybersecurity experts—which he noted to be in short supply in this country—to gather information and keep law enforcers up to date.
He said the partnership would allow banks and law enforcers to act accordingly—similar to a 911 emergency response.
BAP earlier estimated that in 2021 alone, about P1 billion had been lost to cyberfraud in the country.
The losses estimated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) were much higher at P2 billion, based on consumer complaints filed from 2019 to 2021.
BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier affirmed the banking regulators’ full support for the partnership, which she said would “foster healthy dialogue between the DOJ and BAP on matters related to cybersecurity, knowledge-sharing and greater cooperation for the benefit of the financial consumers.”
Jocson said certain guidelines could be drawn up together with the BSP, regarding how banks should push information to clients “such that they will not be put into positions where they will unwittingly share their their personal information to others.” —REPORTS FROM DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA AND MARLON RAMOS
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