Singapore announces measures to bolster security of digital banking

by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE 

SINGAPORE – The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) are introducing a set of additional measures to bolster the security of digital banking, in view of the recent spate of SMS-phishing scams targeting bank customers.

“MAS is deeply concerned about the recent spate of scams and the financial losses suffered by victims. The threat of scams will not go away, but we can reduce our vulnerabilities,” said MAS’ Managing Director, Ravi Menon, in a statement.

“This requires a multi-pronged response across the ecosystem,” he added.

According to Menon, MAS, together with the Police, the Infocomm Media Development Authority, and other relevant government agencies, is working closely with the financial and telco industry, consumer groups, and other stakeholders to strengthen the collective resilience against scam attacks.

“We will ensure that digital banking remains secure, efficient, and trusted,” he said.

Banks in Singapore, in consultation with MAS, will work to put in place more stringent measures within the next two weeks among others would see a removal of clickable links in emails or SMSes sent to retail customers.

“Together with the MAS and ecosystem players, the banking industry will continue to strengthen consumer protection measures,” chairman of the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) Wee Ee Cheong meanwhile said.

“We also ask that the public stay vigilant given that scams continue to evolve and are executed quickly. We remain committed to upholding the confidence with which customers can transact online safely, while still maintaining a high level of service.”

It was reported here that nearly 470 OCBC customers lost at least S$8.5 million last December to the phishing scams.

The victims received unsolicited SMS messages purporting to be from the bank, claiming there were issues with their banking accounts and they had to click on a link given in the message to resolve the issue.

The link led to fake bank websites and victims were asked to key in their Internet banking account login details.