THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) told companies to enhance cybersecurity safeguards as most business transactions move to digital spaces due to physical distancing protocols.

In a statement Wednesday, the corporate regulator said it advised corporations to assess their exposure to cybersecurity risks now that people are flocking to online platforms due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

It noted there are recent cases of hacking and duplicate social media accounts that may lead to new cyber crimes, and in turn, harm corporations.

“Digital transformation benefits businesses, allowing them to improve their productivity and realize greater efficiencies, but not without risks,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said in the statement.

“The boards of directors of companies must ensure that a robust cybersecurity strategy is in place and that existing cybersecurity measures, including regular penetration testing and risk assessments, remain effective amid the evolving security landscape,” he added.

Over the weekend, there have been reports of multiple creation of Facebook profiles bearing the names of students, journalists and other Filipino users, sounding alarm at universities and private institutions over the safety of the internet.

The National Privacy Commission said it had alerted Facebook, which claimed it was doing its own investigation of the issue.

The SEC said digital platforms have enabled most companies to maintain operations especially when Luzon was under a strict quarantine. Because of this, some are already shifting to low-touch and online-only services as a way to adapt to life post-lockdown.

With this trend, the need for strong cybersecurity measures has become more relevant among corporations, the SEC said, as it told companies to be wary of phishing attempts, data breaches and other cyberattacks that may harm them and their customers.

“Cybersecurity is more than an IT matter. It is a corporate governance issue that companies should give serious attention to and proactively manage, as cyberattacks could damage their reputation, disrupt their operations, and eventually jeopardize their profitability and enterprise value,” Mr. Aquino said. — Denise A. Valdez