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Philippine Bankers Learn Cybersecurity Best Practices from the United Kingdom

Knowing how much the country has been a target of cybersecurity threats in the past, top experts from the United Kingdom presented state-of-the-art cybersecurity practices to the leaders of the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP). The exchange was organised through the efforts of the British Embassy Manila and BAP.

The exchange was designed to discuss the growing relevance of Cyber Security in the country.

The aims is to help forge relationships and build connections between the UK and the Philippines and work together in addressing cyber security risks. The UK is open to collaborating internationally, especially with countries that share our values of democracy and transparency, like the Philippines.

– Richard Colley, Country Director, Department for International Trade

Certainly, it’s a timely move. To date, cyberthreats have risen in the Southeast Asian nation since the pandemic. A recent study revealed that more small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that went digital because of the coronavirus pandemic are experiencing cyberattacks affecting their operations. Moreover, the study which focused on cybersecurity for SMBs in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region found 57% of SMBs in the country experienced a cyberattack in the past 12 months. Among them, 73% lost customer information to culprits.

The strategic relevance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, including the Philippines, makes it a prime target for cyberattacks. The growth in trade, capital flows, and cyber linkages between the Philippines and other countries implies that its cyber threat landscape will become even more complex in the future. Thus, such growth further escalates the region’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Acknowledging this, Mr Ramon L Jocson, Vice-Chairman of the BAP Cyber Security Committee confirmed the growing menace. He talked about the cyber threats that Philippine banks and financial intermediaries are facing including the prevalence of ransomware and supply chain attacks. He also noted how BAP’s initiatives and collaboration with government and public agencies have been instrumental in addressing cyber issues.

The United Kingdom is one of these vital resources. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the UK’s think tank and main government implementer of cyber strategies and programmes shared how the organisation plays its role in supporting the Financial Services Sector. British government experts presented its 2022 National Cyber Strategy which underscores the government’s action to protect its citizens, companies and international partners. In addition, NCSC also explained how they help realise the vision of cyberspace as a reliable and resilient place for people and businesses to flourish.

Cyberthreats have not only grown in number; they also have widened their technical arsenal. Learning from the best is surely a great way to move forward — especially true in the digital landscape. Many UK tech companies are already working with Philippine partners and clients, but there are still many opportunities for collaboration, particularly on cyber security. To that end, companies with cutting-edge technology presented their technologies and explained how they can further support the Philippines in becoming cyber-resilient in the fast-moving digital world.

The Philippines has been steadily upgrading its economy to veer towards digitisation. Its drive to be part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) and Web 3.0 is remarkable. To jumpstart its digital economy, the country has launched the Innovative Cities Initiative developing towards technology one key city at a time. It should make Makati City the  Silicon Valley of the nation.

And as reported on OpenGov Asia, the Pacific nation is starting its digital currency initiative. Indeed, the Philippines may not be the first country to do so but it’s definitely moving its digital economy forward.

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