ADDRESSING the rising cybersecurity threats in the Philippines requires a two-pronged strategy: implementing more flexible legislation and harnessing emerging technologies, according to experts.

“I know that fraudsters and even perpetrators also need a tool that could be used to move forward. Artificial intelligence (AI) has actually helped us a lot in ensuring that our space is safe,” GCash Chief Risk Officer Ingrid Beroña said at the BusinessWorld Economic Forum 2024 on Wednesday.

GCash is focusing most of its budget on protecting its platform from breaches, she added.

She also noted that investing in technologies has allowed the company to successfully prevent cybersecurity breaches.

“What I can confidently say is [the value of cybercrime incidents] is not even 1% of our daily transactions,” she said.

“The most prevailing technology we have is AI. AI has helped us that our space is safe. We have a good relationship with local authorities and they are working with us to ensure that the space is secure,” she added.

A law aiding companies and agencies in combating cybersecurity attacks will also need to be implemented, according to Alexander K. Ramos, executive director of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center.

“The way laws are set up now, once they are passed, a new threat has already emerged. We need more flexible laws that can address threats as they happen,” he said.

In April, research group Capstone-Intel urged the Philippine Congress to pass a law enhancing the government’s cybersecurity protocols and mechanisms.

This follows several incidents of cybersecurity breaches involving government websites.

For instance, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) attributed the recent breach involving the Department of Science and Technology to the government’s outdated network and slow procurement process.

The DICT said that the government’s slow procurement process does not permit timely network upgrades, especially given that the information communications and technology landscape is constantly evolving.

Recall that the country is expected to face more cyberattacks as attackers are anticipated to take advantage of the expanding digital economy, the department said.

The Philippines’ digital economy has been on the rise, with its value expected to reach as high as $150 billion by 2030, mainly driven by e-commerce, according to the e-Conomy report issued by Google, Temasek Holdings, and Bain & Company last year.

While the government is responsive to cyberattacks, the Philippines needs policies that are “flexible” and adaptable to changes, especially since threat actors are growing sophisticated, Mr. Ramos said.

“We have laws passed within the past year to safeguard the digital realm, but we are still asking Congress for more,” he added.

Last year, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said the government is working to ensure the swift passage of cybersecurity laws.

Currently, Senate Bill (SB) 1365 or the proposed Cybersecurity Act is pending at the committee level. — A.E.O. Jose