Monday, June 10, 2024

BPI alerts businesses to a phishing scheme that targets their staff

“Cyberattacks against organizations do happen and it could cost millions in terms of data loss, financial impact, and operational disruption. Line managers, particularly those with access to critical data or tasked with critical transactions, face the biggest risk of whaling, that is why it’s important to conduct regular cybersecurity awareness training and attack simulations within the company. We must get everyone to understand that cybersecurity is a responsibility we all share and that it takes a collective effort to fight cyberthreats. Doing so will allow us to safely navigate the digital world while ensuring the company and employees are protected.” ~Jonathan John Paz, BPI Enterprise Information Security and Data Protection Officer

The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has issued a warning to businesses and the general public about the spread of executive phishing attacks, also known as whaling, which is a sophisticated social engineering scam that targets members of an organization. 

According to Jonathan John Paz, BPI Enterprise Information Security and Data Protection Officer, executive phishing or whaling can occur via emails and messaging apps such as Viber and WhatsApp, in which unscrupulous individuals pose as a senior management figure to induce employees to carry out fraudulent transactions or to divulge sensitive or confidential information. 

Paz urged the public to be alert and exercise caution with emails and attachments to protect themselves from this type of social engineering scams. He advised to follow these tips:
  • Verify the sender. Before taking any action, make sure that the sender’s name, email address, and contact number are correct. If you don’t normally receive an email or message from the sender, ask a person in authority to verify their legitimacy. 
  • Don’t engage. Don’t click on links or download attachments from suspicious senders. Don’t respond to their message either. 
  • Check for viruses. Take an extra step by scanning attachments for viruses before opening them. 
  • Report immediately. If you receive a message from a sender who you suspect is impersonating an executive of your company, report immediately to your company’s cybersecurity team. 

Furthermore, Paz urged companies to take a proactive approach to promoting cybersecurity awareness, instilling in their employees the mindset that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, regardless of position, title, or tenure. 

According to a report by the Department of Information and Communications Technology, cyber incidents in the country increased by 62% in 2023, indicating the need for a more aggressive cybersecurity awareness campaign to safeguard Filipinos. 

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