BSP: NBI To File Criminal Cases vs Brains Behind Bank Hacking Incident

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The NBI will pursue the filing of criminal cases against the brains behind bank hacking incident, according to BSP.

BSP — On Monday, an official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will pursue the filing of criminal cases against the brains behind the series of bank hacking incident that were reported in December last year.

BSP Technology Risk and Innovation Supervision Department Head Melchor Plabasan aired this assurance at the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies’ hearing on the reported illegal online bank fund transfers that occurred in the last quarter of 2021 involving two reputable banks in the Philippines, UnionBank and BDO Unibank.

The NBI will pursue the filing of criminal cases against the brains behind bank hacking incident, according to BSP.
Photo source: Filipino Live

Plabasan told Senator Grace Poe, head of the Senate banks panel, that the central bank was conducting its own investigation and the investigation was in relation to their supervisory and regulatory power.

NBI, on the other hand, is also conducting for purposes of prosecuting,” Plabasan said. “There are people who need to be prosecuted, that’s within the purview of the NBI.

Also, Plabasan assured senators that the central bank was proactively coordinating with the NBI and the two institutions that were involved in the particular incident.

READ ALSO: House Panel OKs Bill Regulating e-Wallet, Online Banking

When asked by Senator Poe if the central bank planned to expand the agency’s cybersecurity group, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno replied in the affirmative, but the BSP chief stressed that financial institutions and banks should also do the same as well.

Yes, definitely your honor…In addition, your honor, the BSP-supervised institutions should also beef up their cybersecurity capability,” said Diokno.

However, Plabasan refused to give further details of the online bank hacking incident, saying that the investigation was still ongoing but a number of the 700 involved hacked bank accounts have already been restituted by the concerned bank.

online banking
Photo source: Philstar

But Senator Poe stressed that it’s imperative for the government and for lawmakers to address the growing complexity of financial transactions as well as support the accelerated financial inclusion in the Philippines.

The senator believed that the enactment into law of the proposed Financial Consumer Protection Act has become even more necessary under the “new normal”.

The goal of hitting 70 percent in 2023 now seems doable as more and more Filipinos open bank accounts or utilize e-money accounts,” said Poe. “(But) expansion comes with its own range of challenges—from the small-scale fraud and investment scams to the hacking of one of the largest banks in the Philippines which left at least 700 accounts compromised.

Senator Poe reiterated the need for a law that lists all the rights of financial consumers — consumers, ordinary depositors, policyholders — to protect their interests.

According to the senator, the said law shall also ensure that financial service providers were operating optimally and the regulators were able to oversee the system with utmost efficiency.

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