Philippine central bank bolsters cyber security, may regulate bitcoin operators

The Philippine central bank is bolstering cybersecurity surveillance to help boost banks’ defences and is looking at regulating bitcoin operators to combat money laundering, a senior official said on Saturday.

More banks around the world have fallen victim to cyber attacks that involved the use of fraudulent Swift messages, the same technique at the heart of February’s massive theft from the Bangladesh central bank.

The Philippine central bank has set up a separate cybersecurity surveillance division to craft cyber security policies and conduct surveillance work, monitor cyber threats and test the ability of supervised institutions to manage cyber security issues, Nestor Espenilla central bank deputy governor in charge of banking supervision, said in a lecture organised by the bank.

“We have a core IT supervision group … and within that group we created a new division that is focused on cyber security issues to strengthen our capacity to deal with these,” he said.

At least three hacker groups, two from Pakistan and North Korea were involved in US$81m Bangladesh bank heist

Policymakers were also looking at tightening regulations for remittance companies and money changers, and regulating operators of virtual currencies to boost efforts to combat money laundering, he said.

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