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PLDT Enterprise, ePLDT & FINTQ call on banks to fortify cyber security measures amid growing threats

Executives from PLDT Enterprise and its industry-leading digital enterprise enabler ePLDT, along with FINTQ, the financial technology arm of Voyager Innovations, today called on companies in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sectors to ramp up their digital security measures in the wake of cyber attacks that have gotten worse and more sinister over the years.

The rising cyber threats to the BFSI sector as well as the many ways to address them were tackled during the recent Cyber Security Summit organized by PLDT Enterprise, ePLDT, and FINTQ, in cooperation with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Securities and Exchange Commission, Insurance Commission, Credit Information Corporation, Bankers Association of the Philippines, Chamber of Thrift Banks, Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines, and the Philippine Insurer and Reinsurer Association.

“The threat is here. The threat is real, and the potential loss risk is scary. Banks and other financial institutions are naturally among the priority targets to these rising cyber attacks, since they are the gatekeepers of financial data, which most cyber criminals are after,” said First Vice President and Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Groups, Jovy Hernandez.

“This is also not just a local or Philippine concern, given the latest incidents which uncovered the fact that organized transnational groups are behind some of the most nefarious cyber attacks in recent history. The Cyber Security Summit was the perfect venue for us to get up to speed on real cyber security threats, find out what are the mitigating solutions available, and for everyone to exchange ideas on how to best address the issue. The time to act is now.”

The Philippines is in the middle of the global cyber threat storm, with security research firms tagging the country as among the most vulnerable to cyber attacks around the world. Across 213 countries, for example, the Philippines ranks 7th in terms of mobile malware attacks logged last year.

These threats range from simple spam and distributed denial-of-service attacks to more damaging ones that include card skimming, phishing, viruses, and botnets that threaten the integrity of financial data.

Unfortunately, Philippine firms have low awareness of imminent threats surrounding their organizations, according to a 2016 survey conducted by PwC, which found that only 17% of

respondents admit to being victims of a cyber attack, and only one in three Philippine companies having an established incident response plan in the event of an attack1.

A clear and present danger

These gaps in awareness and preparation pose a clear and present danger to companies in the BFSI sector, especially given the rise of new digital services that are being accessed on a wide range of devices–a total of about 30 billion devices by 2020, to be exact, according to research firm IHS Markit.

“Protection from these cyber criminals is not just a business or government concern, but every individual whose personal profile or identity is at a high risk of being stolen or compromised. As we have seen digitalization rise among the key priorities of banks and financial institutions over the past years, we have likewise seen a steady increase of attacks against these companies as well,” explained Lito Villanueva, Managing Director at FINTQ. “With more and more device touchpoints available to consumers, companies are left vulnerable with more attack entry points than ever before. Guarding against these threats should be among their top priorities today.”

To be able to do this, Villanueva said firms must take a “holistic, proactive approach” to combating threats, which leaves no stone unturned in the entire customer experience chain.

Banks and financial institutions can do this by fortifying their data systems with firewall and intrusion prevention systems, or beefing up their security measures with tools such as antispam, antibot, antivirus, and application control mechanisms, among others, that help them manage the traffic coming in and out of their systems. A strong and trusted partner like PLDT Enterprise through ePLDT can help firms fortify their security measures.

They may also implement card-control technologies and mechanisms that empower their customers with mobile tools that let them manage when and where their ATM, debit, and credit cards can be used, and proactively inform them of each transaction where their cards were used. This technology is available through LockByMobile, an innovative system developed by FINTQ.

In light of worsening cyber attacks, Villanueva said these institutions must always be a step ahead of cyber criminals. “These tools and technologies are readily available for all companies–but companies must adopt a proactive mindset in order to effectively combat these threats,” he added.

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