One in four Asian banks hit by online scam attempts


Singapore : More than 25 percent of banks in the Asia-Pacific region have been hit by attempts to steal online information over the last 12 months, but beefing up security is still not viewed as a prime concern, a study said Monday.

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The survey by security software specialist ReadiMinds was conducted by Web and telephone polls across 11 economies including Malaysia, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore.

In such internet scams, crooks typically pose as the websites of financial institutions and attempt to “phish” for information including user names and online banking passwords, the study said.

In most Asian countries, “regulations are still catching up with the strengthening of their online security regime,” a ReadiMinds spokesman told The Business Times.

“Asian countries with weaker regulatory frameworks have therefore attracted the extra attention of online fraudsters.”

Singapore banks are the exception, fortifying their defences to counter the on slaught of new threats.

Online security is still not regarded as a prime concern by the majority of the regional banks. Seventy-five percent of the respondents said they were not aware of the impact of cyber security on their operations.

More than 60 percent of the banks polled did not set aside a budget for online security, lumping it instead into the overall technology budget.

Only 20 percent have adopted measures to strengthen internet-based transactions, the report said.

Underscoring the lax security stance, the survey found 80 percent of the banks queried have no formal plans for raising consumer awareness against threats such as identity theft and financial fraud.

Individual country breakdowns were not revealed to protect the confidentiality of the banks involved.