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UnionBank infosec chief: Cybersecurity everyone’s responsibility

When it comes to cybersecurity, customers and solutions providers must work together in ensuring that the systems they share are secure. This entails the adoption of good digital hygiene practices not only on the part of the provider, but also the end user.

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer Joey Rufo made this statement during his presentation at the eTalk-Tales online event held by UnionBank last July 15, the second in a series of media roundtable discussions on digital banking in the new normal.

Rufo highlighted the serious threat posed by cyberattacks to digitization, saying that individuals and enterprises must always be on their toes since these attacks can come in new forms and can affect any industry that has digitized.

“If you’re an individual or an organization that has a digital footprint, the bigger you are, the more digital you are, the more likely you become a target,” Rufo said.

In the first month of the pandemic, UnionBank saw an increase of about 50 percent in its digital transactions, which it attributes to the shift to digital channels among banking customers due to social distancing measures that are in place in order to control the spread of COVID-19. With health experts expecting the pandemic to last until at least next year, Rufo said that digital transactions will continue to experience growth, which means more opportunities for threat actors to carry out attacks.

Rufo gave a few examples of good digital hygiene practices for digital banking users, such as not sharing their password, OTP, and other sensitive information with others; keeping their banking, social media and personal emails separate; logging in directly to a digital service provider’s website and mobile application; and verifying emails and links before clicking.

Another tip from Rufo is to avoid oversharing on social media, because any personal information shared there can be used by threat actors to commit cyberattacks against individuals and even corporations. In terms of transacting with third party providers such as e-commerce sites, Rufo suggests to only transact with those who are respectable and trustworthy.

He then cited UnionBank’s various efforts to ensure its digital ecosystem is secure. These include continuous investments in the latest data security technologies, 24/7 interception and monitoring of attacks through its Integrated Operations Center, regular security tests, and awareness campaigns via communication channels on how customers can protect themselves.

Rufo concluded the discussion by saying that as we continue with our use of digital transactions, we must always have cybersecurity at heart. This should be part of our daily routine from the moment we first check our smartphones in the morning.

“We need to keep in mind that while cybersecurity measures are there to protect us, we must also play our part in protecting the digital channels that we use for our transactions,” Rufo said.

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