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Telcos to bolster fight against fraud | #phishing | #scams | #hacking | #aihp


Local telecommunication players (telcos) have agreed to strengthen cybersecurity and combat financial crimes amid growing fraud concerns, according to the digital infrastructure arm of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC).

During the 2022 UnionBank Innovation Festival held at the newly opened UnionBank Innovation Campus in San Pedro, Laguna last Friday, executives of UnionBank of the Philippines, Globe Group, Smart Communications, and Converge ICT Solutions inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

According to PSAC, the MOU aims to strengthen cybersecurity and combat financial crimes through Fraud Prevention and Data Sharing Measures.

“This marks the first course of action of the PSAC Digital Infrastructure sector, headed by UnionBank Chief Technology and Operations Officer and Chief Transformation Officer Henry Aguda, shortly after it was formed last month,” PSAC said in a statement on Saturday.

Under the recently signed MOU, the private sector group said all telcos have committed to create a framework to share relevant data to profile fraudsters abusing technology and victimizing Filipinos without requiring a very lengthy court order to extract information about fraudsters.

The private sector group said the MOU will aid the Advisory Opinion 2021-06 issued by the National Privacy Commission (NPC) in allowing for the sharing of relevant data for purposes of fraud investigations.

PSAC said the agreement forged by the telcos will also intensify the private sector’s anti-fraud initiative by enabling the taking down of malicious sites and phishing links. The private sector group also noted that the telco firms have agreed to create and convene their respective Quick Response Teams (QRT) composed of their own cybersecurity specialists in order to prevent, monitor, report, and resolve cybersecurity incidents.

UnionBank Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Joey Rufo, Globe Group CISO Anton Bonifacio, Smart Senior Vice President (SVP) and Head for Enterprise Joseph Ian G. Gendrano, and Converge CISO Benjamin B. Azada signed the MOU.

The other signatories included UnionBank Anti-Financial Crimes Governance head and PSAC Digital Infrastructure Secretariat Ernesto C. Herrera III, Smart CISO Angel Redoble, Converge Chief Technology Officer Paulo Martin Santos, and the respective Data Protection Officers of each firm—Smart Communications’ Leah Jimenez and Converge’s Laurice Tuason.

Executive officials of the local telcos in the country shared industry insights to kickstart these digitization initiatives. The members of the PSAC Digital Infrastructure group are Globe Group President and CEO Ernest Cu, Smart and PLDT President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio, and Converge CEO and Co-Founder Dennis Anthony Uy. The digital infrastructure group is headed by UnionBank Chief Technology and Operations Officer Henry Aguda.

“Together with our telecommunications partners: Globe, Smart and Converge, we want the Digital Filipino to be protected from cyber crimes by ensuring that cyber criminals cannot hide behind the anonymity of prepaid numbers and the internet. We will hold them accountable. We want the citizens to be 100 percent Digital. We want a secure Digital Filipino,” Aguda said.

Also present at the MOU signing was Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) Managing Director Ben Castillo.

The digital infrastructure group of PSAC was formed to provide President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. with practical recommendations to promote wider spread internet access and to advance digitization initiatives.

“While technology and innovation have the power to stimulate equitable progress for the nation, there is the potential abuse of these tools in the wrong hands,” PSAC said in its statement.

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