SEC tells businesses to strengthen cybersecurity as more transactions go online

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo - CDN Digital | June 11,2020 - 11:50 AM

As more businesses shift operations online, the SEC urged corporations to strengthen their cybersecurity measures.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — While digital transactions became a trend amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has advised corporations to strengthen their cybersecurity measures “in light of recent reports of hacking incidents. “

The SEC earlier issued a notice to corporations, urging them to assess risks that they face and put countermeasures and policies in place to prevent them.

Just last May 28, 2020, the customer service Twitter account of the telecommunications company, PLDT, was hacked by a group who identified themselves as Anonymous

READ: Group hacks telecom giant’s Twitter account

“Digital transformation benefits businesses, allowing them to improve their productivity and realize greater efficiencies, but not without risks,” SEC Chairperson Emilio Aquino said in an emailed news release dated June 10, 2020.

While minimal movements are allowed as part of the measures against COVID-19, the several companies shifted online transactions to allow a minimum interaction and comply with the government’s social distancing and quarantine measures.

“In the Philippines, digital technologies have allowed some companies to sustain their operations while the country was placed under enhanced community quarantine. As digital transactions increased, however, reports of phishing attempts, data breaches and other cyberattacks likewise emerged,” the SEC said.

According to Aquino, cybersecurity is a corporate governance issue that businesses should give a serious look into “as cyberattacks could damage their reputation, disrupt their operations, and eventually jeopardize their profitability and enterprise value.”

“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,” Aquino said.  

In 2016, the SEC has also required capital market participants to report their compliance with data privacy and protection regulations, which requires both private and government organizations to develop their privacy manuals. /bmjo

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