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Bank exec assures: PH banks secure from hackers

By: Vanessa Claire Lucero March 09,2016 - 09:43 PM

A TOP executive of the Cebu Bankers’ Club (CBC) has assured the public that banks in the Philippines remain secure despite recent news of scams and frauds.

Maximo Rey Eleccion, CBC president, gave the assurance yesterday amid a report that  about $100 million was  hacked from the Bangladesh Bank and transferred to a Philippine bank based in Manila.

Eleccion said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the Philippine banks are still very secure and stable.

“The public does not have access to the central bank. Only banks have accounts with the BSP. To the general public, our banks are already improving security measures just to prevent these things from happening to us,” Eleccion told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview.

SECURITY MEASURES

Among the security measures strictly imposed by all banks to minimize the likelihood of automated teller machine (ATM) frauds are daily withdrawal limits and fast notifications of large transactions from banks.

Depending on the bank, ATM withdrawal limits can be as low as P20,000 to around P50,000 every day.

Clients are also notified through email or text when the banks’ systems detect large withdrawal  amounts.

Eleccion said that this has helped banks quickly identify suspicious activity in bank accounts and quickly trace them.

“Ang atong systems, gi-secure gyud na sila (our systems have been secured). We see our banks as very secure.  We are prepared when it comes to public funds,” he said.

Similarly, the BSP also has several firewalls in place that detect suspicious movement in the system.

To date, no reports of large frauds or scams have reached CBC, apart from the case of Romanian nationals caught hacking into European accounts through Philippine banks last year, he said.

NOT PH BANKS

“We’ve received complaints in the past that there have been unauthorized withdrawals so fraud may have been committed, but when we traced the transaction, it’s usually done by someone the client knows, like a spouse, who didn’t inform them beforehand of the transaction,” he said.

Eleccion also pointed out that in both the case of BB, and the Romanian hackers, the banks in question were not Philippine banks.

He added that while the money in both cases were wired into Philippine banks, they are now working on intensifying anti-money laundering trainings in the Philippines to be able to detect suspicious transactions faster.

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