BPI takes down 2000 phishing sites amid online fraud surge during lockdown

BPI taken down 2000 phishing sites
BPI continues to take down 10 phishing sites daily amid the community quarantine.

The Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) reported that it has detected and taken down a total of almost 2000 phishing sites during the lockdown period in the Philippines.

The 2000 phishing sites were taken down from March to Aug 2020. BPI says it has continued to take down at least 10 more phishing sites daily.

BPI noted that since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, several phishing attacks are repeatedly launched to trick clients into giving their personal information during the quarantine period.

BPI Executive Vice President and COO Ramon Jocson said that most of these attacks are perpetrated by Filipino syndicates that have been taking advantage of the current global health crisis.

“They send out malicious emails with COVID-19 themes to steal information and put up fake crowd-funding pages for supposedly PPE donations,” said Jocson. “A lot of the crimes being committed involve Filipinos targeting fellow Filipinos — getting their credentials, posing as clients of the banks, and then doing unauthorized withdrawals.”

He explained that these cybercrimes have become more pervasive partly because of widespread tutorials which have made it easier for scammers to put up phishing sites.

This, Jocson said, demands an increased focus on clients’ security and trust in online banking.

“BPI has rolled out awareness campaigns over the past several months. On our non-technical side, we heavily count on the infomercials that we post on our social media channels to inform our clients about the different fraud schemes that have sprung up. We also give them tips on how to remain cyber safe, secure, and smart during these times,” he said.

He added that the Bank has taken a technical precautionary measure by enabling security operations centers to work around the clock to detect potential threats. “We try to detect abnormal behaviors. We track around close to 22,000 events per second — every ATM withdrawal, log on, and so forth — and we have analytics to track any aberrant behavior,” he said.

Culture of Cybersecurity

Even as BPI continuously employs world-class tools, methods, and processes to ensure the security of clients’ account information, Jocson, reminds the public that creating a culture of cybersecurity is a shared responsibility between banks and its clients.

This means that clients also have to do their part in improving online safety and security by adopting basic cybersecurity habits in their everyday transactions.

“As we move into a digital world, let us remember that digital means presence-less. We don’t need to be there in order to complete the transaction. As we do this, remember that security starts and ends with us. It’s about guarding our credentials,” he said, “That is why banks have instituted security features such as the one-time PIN, biometrics, and other online banking security features. We all need to use them.”

Check out How to Avoid Most Common Phishing Scams and more Cybersecurity Tips to Keep Your Information Secure.

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The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.