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BSP forms task force to investigate bank hacking

A silhouette of a mobile device user is seen next to a screen projection of binary code in this picture illustration taken on March 28, 2018. — REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/FILE PHOTO

THE BANGKO Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has created a task force to investigate the alleged online banking fraud involving two local banks.

“We are forming a task force composed of cyber- and anti-money laundering specialists and legal officers to determine the root causes and possible control lapses involving the incident,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said at a briefing on Monday evening.

The task force was ordered to submit recommendations to Mr. Diokno within 30 days.

“Guided by relevant laws and regulations, penalties and/or sanctions may be imposed depending on the results of the examination,” he said.

The BSP will look into the banks’ vulnerabilities and possible noncompliance in managing cyber- and anti-money laundering risks.

Some customers of BDO Unibank, Inc. took to social media over the weekend to complain about unauthorized fund transfers from their accounts. The funds were then allegedly transferred to fictitious accounts at UnionBank of the Philippines.

UnionBank Chief Technology and Operations Officer Henry Rhoel R. Aguda said the bank had frozen nearly P5 million in the accounts involved in the incident.

“Right now, the bank has already frozen close to about P5 million in funds that would have been involved in the recent issue over the weekend and we’re making sure that those funds are safe,” Mr. Aguda said in a BusinessWorld Live interview.

BDO said it was processing the reimbursement claims of about 700 clients whose accounts were affected.

“We have requested our clients to go to their branch of account and submit documentation to get the refund. The bank will shoulder the losses perpetuated by this cyber-crime incident,” the lender said.

Meanwhile, National Privacy Commission head Raymund E. Liboro said they were in touch with data protection officers from BDO.

While cyber-hygiene and account protection should be promoted, Mr. Liboro said customers should not be solely blamed for these incidents. He said banks should invest more to beef up online security and prevent data breaches.

“The big responsibility to take care of the deposits is really shouldered by the banks,” he told ABS-CBN News Teleradyo. — Luz Wendy T. Noble

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