Data breach cases are gradually becoming a dime a dozen. While the most expensive breaches we’ve known so far are from the big companies in the US, that doesn’t mean the Philippines is safe.
While the once “sick man of Asia” has made economic leaps thanks to the exponential growth of the offshore outsourcing industry, it lags behind in terms of infrastructure and security awareness. The Philippines many not be a direct target but its systems are exploitable.
Cyber Attack without Borders
Case in point, the infamous seemingly ripped off from the pages of a Hollywood script, the well known Bangladesh heist. The perpetrators managed to transfer $81 million spread out over four accounts to a bank in the Philippines, convert it into Pesos, and then consolidate it into two accounts of a Chinese-Filipino businessman. Finally the money was laundered through casinos and some was later transferred to Hong Kong.
Now it was discovered that Philippine banks were under attack by hackers, who stopped when the investigation of the Bangladesh heist intensified. “Probing attempts” were made to uncover vulnerabilities in bank security systems, starting around November 2015 to March 2016 according to a banker (who cannot reveal his identity and sources due to confidentiality) quoting information gathered by an international cybersecurity firm.
There was no money lost during the period, but that doesn’t mean cyberattack didn’t take place. Hackers can delete their footprints, which causes companies to be completely unaware of the data breach. It’s not until stolen data or trade secrets are sold and demands have been made by hackers that the extent of the IT security breach is known.
How to Protect Your Bank against Crimeware
While cyberattacks can’t be completely avoided or prevented, here are some best practices that you can do to reduce cyberthreats:
- Apply software patches. Software companies often release patches for their products to protect it against new viruses. Make it a habit of upgrading your software, applications, and other security tools to decrease the chances of a cyber attack breaking through your system.
- Regulate possible points of attack. Lessen the likelihood of an attack on your system by restricting which applications are allowed to run, which log-ins are authorized to access certain information, and what actions a particular system can perform. This way, you’ll lessen the weak points in your security system.
- Compile your security analysis data. Prepare backup plans before hackers strike, compile a list of your system’s weak points, and map out ways to add protection to those vulnerable areas. By knowing your security system in and out, you can protect it better from cyber attacks. The chances of data recovery in the event of a breach, especially in the case of Ransomware, is dim so it’s better to prepare for the worst.
- Awareness and Prevention Training for employees. We’re not sure if the Philippine bank would’ve been able to stop the transfers if one of the employees dared to question the transaction, but it’s evident that staff should be trained to anticipate such schemes. Hackers today aren’t just infiltrating a local bank. The internet, and now the internet of things (IoT), have made it possible to hack everything that’s connected to a computer network.
Stronger IT Security
Beefing up your IT security system can go a long way. This move will protect your clients’ information, your financial assets, and establish your bank as a company that cares deeply about its customers’ security.
Be sure to check your IT systems regularly as well to spot any signs of attacks or pinpoint weak spots in your security system. Remember, preparedness and vigilance are keys to stopping a cyberattack from damaging your bank.