BoT tells banks to tackle cybersecurity

BoT tells banks to tackle cybersecurity

Central bank governor Veerathai Santiphabhob is telling every bank in the country to ramp up cybersecurity - and plan to pay back every satang to every customer in case of a breach.
Central bank governor Veerathai Santiphabhob is telling every bank in the country to ramp up cybersecurity - and plan to pay back every satang to every customer in case of a breach.

The Bank of Thailand has instructed all banks to make cybersecurity a priority, develop systems to tackle unauthorised access and offer compensation in the event of financial losses from a data breach.

The central bank recently summoned board members of all banks to discuss the recent cyber-attack and requested that they draft important policies to protect customers from cyber-risks, said governor Veerathai Santiphabhob.

According to the central bank's announcement from last year, any financial institution must have at least one board member that specialises in IT to allow the member to make decisions immediately in the event of a cyber-attack.

"Amid the positive growth of digital banking in terms of both users and transactions, cybersecurity should be a key policy and receive attention from banks' high-ranking executives," Mr Veerathai said.

A few weeks ago, Kasikornbank and Krungthai Bank reported to the Bank of Thailand that cyber-attackers stole data from 123,000 customers, but no customers have reported financial losses so far because the stolen data was not financial information.

The central bank will closely collaborate with other related parties such as the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to guard against cyber-risks and amend regulations to prepare for cybercrimes, Mr Veerathai said.

Regarding a glitch in some banks' mobile services last week, Mr Veerathai said the adoption of new features in line with greater competition in the banking industry and the significant surge in mobile banking transactions caused the problem.

Online transactions have rocketed after banks waived transaction fees over digital channels in late March.

Banks and National Interbank Transaction Management and Exchange Ltd (National ITMX) will also expand capacity to prepare for rising digital banking transactions, as massive transactions will occasionally lead to onerous traffic.

In the opening speech of a seminar called "Innovative Finance for Future Growth", Mr Veerathai said improving household finance is a crucial concern because many countries still face the problem of high household debt and low savings rates.

"Households, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid, have to pay much higher interest rates than other segments of the society," he said. "As such, improving individuals' financial security is critical and necessitates an overall improvement in affordable financial services as well as financial planning skill."

Moreover, the rising number of new financial solutions can improve small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) finance, especially for micro-SMEs.

The transitions to an electronic payment ecosystem will allow financial institutions to better assess SMEs' credit risks through transactional data analytics, Mr Veerathai said.

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