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Tightened cyber-threat reporting regulations for financial institutions

Financial institutions have been the recipient of increasingly persistent, sophisticated and targeted attacks, according to a recent report.

Because of this, the Monetary Board (MB) has recently approved amendments to existing regulations, which have tightened the reporting regime on cyber-related incidents and operational disruptions for Bangko Sentral supervised financial institutions (BSFIs).

With cooperation from BSFIs, which are expected to provide prompt reporting of these incidents, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will have an enhanced visibility on the changing IT risk landscape.

This will proactively guarantee that their impact and resulting risks are minimised and contained to prevent potential systemic risks to the financial system.

The amendments include shortening the permissible length of time the institutions are allowed to report the incident.

From ten (10) calendar days that are prescribed under existing regulations, they are now required to report major cyber-related incidents and disruptions of financial services and operations within two (2) hours from the discovery of the incident.

This is necessary especially with the speed of exploitation and proliferation of attack tools and actors nowadays.

Moreover, this will aid in determining the potential massive extent of damage from cyber-related incidents.

Being provided with a quick access to information on these incidents will enable the Bank to alert other banks, industry associations and other relevant stakeholders that may have also be affected by a specific attack.

The affected BSFIs, after providing the initial notification, are likewise required to submit a follow-up report within twenty-four (24) hours after the incident containing information on the manner and the time of initial detection, impact of the incident, and the initial remedial response done.

The Bank, on its part, will closely monitor the situation and coordinate with all the other concerned institutions.

It will also undertake appropriate supervisory actions, if warranted, until full resolution of the incident has been reached.

Moreover, the BSP may swiftly issue appropriate advisories, security bulletins, and/or policies to prevent recurrence of the incident and be able to promote enterprise and industry-wide operational resilience.

These new regulations are consistent with BSP Circular No. 982 on enhanced guidelines on information security management, which was issued in 2017.

This identified incident reporting as part and parcel of the incident management plans of BSFIs. The new issuance is also timely as the institutions are preparing for full compliance to this circular by 26 November 2018.

In addition, the new regulations will further strengthen the Bank’s cyber-threat surveillance capabilities, which is crucial for industry-wide cyber-preparedness, protection and crisis management.

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