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Cooperation, info sharing to aid banks’ cybersecurity

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Chuchi Fonacier
File photo of BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier during the Asia Microfinance Forum 2014 — Photo by Asia Microfinance Forum

COOPERATION and information sharing in the financial system are crucial in enhancing the sector’s resilience versus cybersecurity threats, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

In an executive forum organized by Maybank Philippines, Inc. on Wednesday, BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said cooperation within the financial system is integral to shield itself from threats posed in the digital space.

“Beyond merely enforcing compliance, cooperation and collaboration engagements among relevant stakeholders, which include fellow regulators, the banking industry as well as relevant state agencies, lay a critical role in enhancing the financial system’s cyber-resilience,” she said in a keynote speech.

Ms. Fonacier said banks need to step up their information security position beyond their respective networks.

“Information sharing allows BSP-supervised financial institutions to enhance the threat intelligence that enables the quick identification, prevention and response to emerging persistent threats.”

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Ms. Fonacier also noted that instilling a strong cybersecurity culture, as well as continuing to strive towards stronger cybersecurity and resilience through constant improvements, is also important to keep the threats at bay.

Department of Information and Communication Technology Assistant Secretary Allan S. Cabanlong said banks are now taking cybersecurity seriously due to the monetary authority’s regulations.

“For all banks, [embedding cybersecurity into all their projects] is happening because the BSP is proactive with that. They have distributed circulars in order for banks to comply with cybersecurity measures,” Mr. Cabanlong said in a panel discussion, adding that banks have become more resilient because of this.

“With this, even though financial institutions are being attacked every single day, they are still resilient — they can still operate.”

Ms. Fonacier also highlighted that the role of the government is also “critical and strategic” in ensuring the safety of the banking industry from cyber criminals.

“The government plays a critical and strategic role in this quest for cybersecurity on a nationwide scale that would promote the benefits of technology in the economy while managing attended risks and vulnerability,” Ms. Fonacier said.

Despite comparing technology to a “double-edged sword,” Ms. Fonacier said it is still a “game-changer” for the banking industry.

“Technology is a game changer that revolutionizes the way banking products are designed and delivered… These transformations allow consumers easy access to their funds anytime, anywhere, and in real time,” the central bank official said.

For Maybank Philippines, the industry’s entry into the digital era poses challenges and opportunities in terms of cyber-threats.

“Our mantra is not a question of if but when. Our risk management sets zero tolerance to cybersecurity incidents,” said Maybank Philippines Information Technology Head Bernardo G. Talimban, Jr. in the panel discussion. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal

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