Be cyber smart, stay cyber safe

2019 November – With the amount of time Filipinos spend online—last year, we averaged 10 hours and two minutes a day, emerging as the world’s top internet users according to the Digital 2019 Report by Hootsuite and We Are Social—and the increasing number of cybercrimes worldwide, there is an urgent need to become more aware and vigilant against cyberattacks.


In 2018, $2.9 million was stolen by cybercriminals every minute from global economies, according to RiskIQ, a US-based cybersecurity company. That’s a total of $1.5 trillion lost. In the Philippines alone, thousands have already fallen victim, losing millions of pesos worth of hard-earned money to cybercriminals.


Cyber Attacks


Phishing and malware are two of the most prevalent cybercrimes. “Phishing is a fraudulent practice that induces individuals to reveal their sensitive, personal information—such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details among others—by disguising as a reputable company in an electric communication,” says Edwin Reyes, Executive Vice President and Transaction Banking Head of BDO Unibank, Inc.


“These emails or text messages frequently use threats or scare tactics to get recipients to click on a link to a fake website, which look almost identical to the legitimate website of the firm it’s disguised as. Here, recipients are asked to enter their personal information, which fraudsters steal and later on, use to access their bank accounts.


“Remember, banks will never ask for your personal, confidential information. The moment you get prompted to provide this—that’s how you know you are under attack by a phisher,” Reyes added.


Meanwhile, malware is unknowingly installing software, which allows cybercriminals to extract information from the device. Credit card details can be obtained if a mobile user enables an application to remember them to make easier and faster online transactions. When logged in at all times, email addresses and passwords used to access social media channels can also be accessed.


In 2018, cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab reported that there were 116.5 million mobile malware attacks globally, representing a 75% increase from the 66.4 million counted in 2017.


Cyber Protection


To combat fraudsters and protect Filipinos from phishing and malware attacks, the local and private sectors continue to work closely together in putting preventive measures in place. Banks, specifically, have been investing in sophisticated security software to protect their respective systems and account holders.


Most recently, the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), under the guidance of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), produced videos to help Filipinos be more cyber smart and stay cyber safe, whether they are online shopping, downloading files, or mobile banking. This is part of the local industry’s efforts in keeping Filipinos informed and equipped to face any cyber attack. BDO, a proud member of the BAP, encourages all to view the following videos:


Phishing 101


When shopping online, remember these tips to protect yourself against phishing attacks:

  • Do not give your personal info (ex: usernames, passwords, credit card details, etc.) online to people or institutions you do not know.
  • Be wary when giving your personal info to suspicious and unverified emails or pop-up boxes on the internet.
  • Remember, banks will never ask for sensitive information like login password, security pin, and CVC number via email.


Maleware 101


When downloading files or installing updates, remember these tips to avoid being infected by malware:

  • Do not open or click suspicious attachments and links sent to your email.
  • Install only known anti-virus software. Always scan your devices for any presence of malware.
  • Do not visit websites that are not secure. Be critical of sites that you visit on the internet.
  • Be careful when connecting flash drives or USB devices to your laptop as they may be infected by malware.


Mobile and Online Banking


When doing mobile or online banking, remember the following:

  • Avoid connecting to public wifi and networks that do not require a password as they are deemed unsafe and not secure.
  • Make it a habit to change or personalize your wifi password at home to avoid unauthorized access.
  • Always monitor your online banking activities for frequency of log in attempts.
  • Be careful when logging in to your online bank account and when giving out financial account information to third parties online.
  • Always check your bank account for any sign of fraud.
  • Make sure that the software and apps installed on your cellphone, tablet, and computer are updated.
  • Install an anti-virus software and enable the firewall on your computer to immediately detect malicious programs and avoid unauthorized access.
  • Avoid installing applications that are not found on Google Play and App Store as they may be malwares. Make sure you download only legitimate applications from trusted and credible companies.
  • Use complicated and hard-to-guess passwords and utilize phone security that will prevent people from accessing your cellphone in case of theft or loss.
  • Back up your files and other important data found inside your smartphone or tablet and keep them safe.
  • Report any incident of cybercrime to your bank immediately.


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