Philippine Banks Had Isolated Cyber Attacks, Central Bank Says

  • Cyber attacks were "small and manageable": deputy governor
  • None of the attacks was of same magnitude as Bangladesh heist

Philippine banks had “isolated” cases of cyber attacks that resulted in small financial losses, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla.

None of the attacks was of the same magnitude as the recent Bangladesh heist, he said. Philippine authorities are investigating how $81 million of the $1 billion that hackers tried to steal from Bangladesh’s central bank in February were routed through Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. in the Philippines.

The other cyber attacks have been “small and manageable,” Espenilla said. “We shouldn’t be surprised. Institutions everywhere are being attacked by cyber criminals. The important thing is the quality of the cyber crime prevention program.”

Espenilla’s comments came after Swift, the global inter-bank messaging system, warned customers last week that hackers have struck again. 

Banks in emerging markets are “more prone to attacks,” said Bill Taylor-Mountford, vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan at LogRhythm, a security intelligence company. “Some of these financial organizations across Asia specifically are still struggling to get up-to-speed in mandating the right compliance, the right governance,” he said.

— With assistance by Sharon Cho, and Ditas B Lopez

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