RCBC Bankard, RCBC step up efforts to fight cybercrime, removing clickable links in emails, SMS and Viber

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and RCBC Bankard have removed all clickable links from all of their communications with customers – including email or electronic direct mail (eDM), SMS and Viber – as part of their efforts to step up their fight against cybercrime attacks.

Carlos Tengkiat, RCBC’s chief information security officer, said this is part of the bank’s commitment to continuously improve customer protection against cybercrime while educating them about safe online transactions.

“Removing clickable links in all forms of communications we send to the public could help our customers more easily distinguish legitimate communications from phishing, smishing, vishing and other cybercrime attempts,” Tengkiat said.

Phishing is the term for a cybercrime attack in which criminals pose as legitimate institutions and send emails with links leading to fake websites in order to collect sensitive information from targets, such as credit card details and passwords.

On the other hand, smishing and vishing are forms of phishing attacks, but they are carried out via SMS messages and voice calls.

Going forward, Tengkiat also shared the bank’s plans to increase its customer education efforts to empower customers to fight cybercrime.

“This is a shared responsibility between banks and customers, and RCBC is committed to continually educating our customers on how to protect their accounts and stay safe when making online financial transactions,” Tengkiat said.

The Bank’s removal of clickable links in all forms of communication supports Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Memorandum No. M-2022-015, which included recommended control measures against cyber fraud and attacks on electronic payments in retail and financial services.

After releasing the memorandum, BSP said it wanted to minimize, if not eliminate, opportunities for hackers to bully the public. Other recommendations include conducting an informational campaign to remove clickable links.

Another measure is to send notifications to customers via their registered mobile or email address when there is a request to change a customer’s contact information or account credentials.

RCBC is one of the largest banks in the Philippines by assets, with a network of over 444 branches and 2,492 ATMs and ATM Go units as of the end of March 2022.

RCBC’s retail products and services include transaction credit, mortgages, personal loans, online banking, credit cards, and checking and savings accounts.

The bank also manages digital risks through advanced and sophisticated cybersecurity tools and programs. The information technology and fraud risk management system work together to ensure the strength of the bank’s security systems and the protection of its account holders.

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