Groups join forces against digital fraud

Under the MOU, all telcos have committed to creating a framework to share relevant data to profile fraudsters abusing technology and victimizing Filipinos without requiring a very lengthy court order to extract information about fraudsters.

Bring it on Representatives of UnionBank, Globe Group, Smart and PLDT, and Converge witnessed the momentous signing of a data sharing memorandum of understanding. Left to right (seated): Bankers Association of the Philippines Ben Castillo, Smart Communications SVP and Head for Enterprise Joseph Ian Gendrano, Globe Group CISO Anton Bonifacio, UnionBank CTO Henry Aguda, UnionBank CISO Joey Rufo, and Converge CISO Benjamin Azada. | photograph courtesy of PSAC


September 11, 2022

The public and financial institutions are under attack, with bad actors becoming more sophisticated in their approaches. Additional anti-fraud solutions will not stop these fraudsters, but a collaboration among regulators, stakeholders, and law enforcement would deal a severe blow to these cyber criminals.

During the inaugural UnionBank Innovation Festival, executives of UnionBank of the Philippines, Globe Group, Smart Communications, and Converge ICT Solutions signed a memorandum of understanding to reinforce cybersecurity and combat financial crimes through fraud prevention and data sharing measures.

“Digital banking has brought significant growth for UnionBank and even better user experience for our customers during the pandemic. The benefit of being able to do your banking anytime, anywhere helped Filipinos make it through the crisis,” UnionBank chief technology and operations officer and chief transformation officer Henry Aguda said.

Aguda also heads the Private Sector Advisory Council. The MoU marks the first course of action of the PSAC shortly after it was formed last month.

The MoU is the answer to the Advisory Opinion 2021-06 issued by the National Privacy Commission, allowing for the sharing of relevant data for fraud investigations, hailed as a proactive response to addressing the rising number of phishing and cybercrime cases.

Under the MoU, all telcos have committed to creating a framework to share relevant data to profile fraudsters abusing technology and victimizing Filipinos without requiring a very lengthy court order to extract information about fraudsters.

Alongside leveraging the expertise of the PSAC network, the MoU will also add teeth to the private sector’s anti-fraud initiative by providing for the taking down of malicious sites and phishing links.

The firms have also agreed to create and convene their respective Quick Response Teams composed of their cybersecurity specialists to prevent, monitor, report, and resolve cybersecurity incidents.

Aguda added, “Through this growth, we have seen opportunistic cyber criminals take advantage of citizens who are still transitioning from branch banking to online banking and yet already being taken advantage of by conscientious individuals.”

“Together with our telecommunications partners: Globe, Smart, and Converge, we want the Digital Filipino to be protected from cybercrimes by ensuring that cybercriminals cannot hide behind the anonymity of prepaid numbers and the internet. We will hold them accountable. We want Filipinos to trust the banking system and their communications systems and for the citizens to be 100 percent Digital. We want a secure Digital Filipino,” Aguda went on to say.

For their part, telcos gave utmost backing to the initiative. Globe Group president and CEO Ernest Cu said, “As the leading digital solutions provider, Globe is spearheading the country’s digital transformation. We are committed to providing various solutions that will address the pain points of Filipinos, leveraging the latest digital technologies for a more sustainable future.”

“As a member of PSAC and an Internet service provider, we will fulfill our part in this data sharing agreement to curb the continuous rise in phishing and other cybercrimes. Collaboration such as this will ensure our shared mission of wider access to digital connectivity is not taken advantage of by criminal elements,” Converge CEO and Co-Founder Dennis Anthony Uy said.

“We at PLDT and Smart have been significantly investing in fortifying our cybersecurity infrastructure, with the clear objective of safeguarding our customers against emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities, including online fraud and other criminal activities,” Smart and PLDT President and CEO Alfredo Panlilio, for his part, said.

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