SEVERAL lawmakers have called for an investigation into the digital hacking of bank accounts that led to unauthorized online transfers.
Several Banco de Oro customers said over the weekend that they lost significant sums after their accounts were hacked.
Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente “Joey” Salceda said the House of Representatives must review the ability of law enforcement “to apprehend, detect, investigate and prosecute financial cybercrimes” and the security measures taken by banks in digital banking.
On Monday, Salceda filed two resolutions regarding the reported bank account hack.
Resolution 2406 urges the House Committee on Public Accounts and the House Committee on Public Order and Security “to conduct hearings, in support of legislation, on law enforcement capacity apprehend, detect, investigate and prosecute financial cybercrimes”.
Resolution 2407 calls on the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries to review “the safety and security measures and user protection mechanisms put in place by banks and electronic payment solution providers to protect their customers against fraud”.
The “Cybercrime Prevention Act” (Republic Act 10175) penalizes computer fraud.
Bayan Muna lawmakers filed a separate resolution to investigate unauthorized online transfers from Banco de Oro (BDO) accounts to the UnionBank account of a certain “Mark Nagoyo”.
Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat on Monday filed HR 2405, which also directs the Banking and Financial Intermediaries Committee to investigate reported fraudulent online bank withdrawals.
Zarate said the victims must be compensated as soon as possible.
“I think it is not enough that there is specific insurance from the banking sector or from BDO at ibalik to reimburse ang nawalan ng pera (return and reimburse lost money), with a caveat na pag napatunayan na walang kasalanan ang depositors. Padadaanan pa sa butas ng karayom, eh malinaw ang system nila ang na-compromise (with the caveat that depositors must prove that they have done nothing wrong. Even if it is obvious that their system has been hacked, depositors will be asked to go through the eye of the needle),” he said.
Senate candidate Neri Colmenares said the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) should look into the incident to ensure depositors’ hard-earned money is safe.
“BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno should request an audit of the systems used by banks in the country and set a benchmark for security. financial institutions that do not meet the security standards that put in our people’s money,” said Colmenares.
The incident prompted Senator Emmanuel Joel Villanueva to call on banks to step up cybersecurity measures to thwart digital pickpockets who prey on workers’ e-wallets and bank accounts.
“While ordinary employees protect their hard-earned money from pickpockets, banks should also ensure that cybercriminals do not choose the digital wallets of those who gave them their salary in a safe place,” said Villanueva, president of the Senate Labor Committee.
He called on government authorities to treat the security breach at BDO “as if it were a serious cyberattack against our country.”
“This goes beyond a single company. National reputation is at stake. The Philippines cannot be said to have a porous banking system because such weakness will only tempt cybercriminals to attack us,” said Villanueva.
He added that a quick fix is needed “because we cannot be seen as a preferred destination for cybercrime, a haven for hackers.”
Any delay, Villanueva said, will corrode public confidence in our banking system, “a relationship built on trust.”
He welcomed BDO’s statement that the interests of hacking victims will be protected, calling it “very reassuring and it’s the right thing to do”.