Cybercrimes expected to rise in the Philippines in 2021
Published 10 March 2021
Philippines Business Groups have said in a joint statement that the impact of cybercrimes in the country is expected to rise further.
Globally, it is expected to hit $6 trillion in 2021 and up to $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, as users keep ignoring firms’ notice and warnings in financial transactions. This data is based on Cybersecurity Ventures research.
“We strongly urge the public to heed these notices and warnings not only for their sake but also to preserve the stability and trust in our financial system,” noted the joint statement of at least 25 groups in the Philippines, stressing its importance to the country’s pursuit of economic recovery and normalcy.
The groups said that phishing, smishing, vishing and other online fraud schemes target bank clients, credit card holders, e-wallet accounts, online shopping and other users of online financial services are under significant surges as online platform adoption became prevalent during the pandemic.
There were 869 online scams recorded from March to September last year, 37 per cent higher than the 633 incidents recorded in the same period in 2019, as cited data from the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group. Filipino internet users also encountered an increase of 20 per cent regarding online credit card skimmers last year.
“It is also paramount that law enforcement agencies act swiftly in identifying, apprehending, and bringing these culprits to justice,” the group said, calling for a massive information drive from both private and public sectors to strengthen the financial system’s defences against cybercriminals.
But businesses also need to find faults in the lack of cybersecurity in their current infrastructure and operations. Even before the pandemic, banks were losing nearly $17 billion annually from identity fraud alone, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.
As banks also embark on a cloud and digital transformation journey, cybercriminals have taken advantage of the pandemic to target remote, distracted and vulnerable workforce under a new digital work-from-home operating model.
Last month, a study by Trend Micro Incorporated reported that home networks, with the uses of Email, URLs, VPNs, were a major channel for cybercriminals looking to pivot to corporate systems. The company found attacks on homes surged 210 per cent to reach nearly $2.9 billion–amounting to 15.5 per cent of all homes.
“In 2020, businesses faced unprecedented threat volumes hitting their extended infrastructure, including the networks of home workers,” said Tony Lee, Head of Consulting of Trend Micro Hong Kong and Macau. “The new year is a chance to adjust and improve with comprehensive cloud-based security to protect distributed staff and systems”.
In an opinion piece published last month in its magazine, the London-based InfoSecurity Group advised financial companies to relook at their threat points – transmission security, network security and encryption security, train, reskill, educate, raise awareness and deploy additional security measures in their own environments as well as customers’ environments, and exploit new and emerging technology to defend its financial systems.