Malacanang assured on Saturday, May 28, that the government has been strengthening the country’s banking system against hackers who have been targeting the international financial system.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma issued the statement amid reports that hackers have already breached the computer system of one of the banks in the Philippines.
Four months ago, it was discovered that hackers broke into the central bank of Bangladesh and stole $101 million. Investigation then revealed that similar hacks have happened to private banks in Ecuador and Vietnam and now the Philippines.
Coloma cited two ways on how government combat cyber robberies including creation of institutions against cyber crimes and strengthening the anti-money laundering system.
“Kailan din lang ay naipasa ang batas na bubuuin na yung isang bagong Department of Information and Communications Technology,” Coloma said in an interview on Radyo ng Bayan.
“Sa pamamagitan nito, mapapag-ugnay o mai-integrate lahat nang iba’t ibang ahensya na may partisipasyon diyan sa daloy ng digital information na siya nang kalakaran sa ating modernong daigdig,” he added.
In the aspect of the Anti-Money Laundering system, he said the government already put up the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
“Its main task is to fight corruption particularly those who are doing illegal money transfers,” he said.
“There is also a package of reforms being carried out by the government to strengthen the country’s banking rules especially the bank secrecy law,” he added.
He noted that the government is findings ways on how to plug the loopholes in the Anti-Money Laundering Law.
“Kaya yan din naman ang resulta nang pagkamulat at yung tumaas na antas ng kamalayan ng mga mamamayan hinggil sa perwisyo at kasamaan na dulot nitong cybercrimes,” he said.
“At patuloy sanang pagtulungan ng lahat ng mga stakeholders, hindi lamang ng pamahalaan, yung pagsabat sa cybercrime para maiwasan ang mga katiwalian katulad nito,” Coloma added.
He said government has also been strengthening the training of the personnel of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to boost their capability against cybercrimes.
Investigators are looking into possible computer breaches in at least 12 banks in the world, all linked to Swift’s global payments network.
Hacking incidents have been linked to notorious hacking group dubbed “Lazarus”, who attacked American and South Korean government, finance and media websites in 2009. They are also responsible for the attack on the computer data of Sony Pictures in 2014.
While the same computer virus were found to have been slipped into a bank in the Philippines, investigators have yet to establish if there was any money stolen.