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Union Bank opts out use of website links in promotions amid cyber threats, frauds

Union Bank of the Philippines on Tuesday said it has opted not to use clickable website links in its promotional communication materials to protect consumers from being victims of online fraud such as phishing and smishing.

In a statement, Union Bank said the initiative forms part of the bank’s proactive measures in an effort to address the surge in “smishing” attempts made through fraudulent text messages to customers.

The bank said it has intensified its cybersecurity information drive “#CyberSureHoliday” to raise awareness of the cyber security risks involved in holiday seasonal shopping, including phishing scams, data swipes, fake websites and infected website links.

“Forward-thinking banks are embracing technological innovations to re-define customer experience in terms of financial health, wealth and security. Despite the conveniences technology provides, recent events have shown us how quickly our lives and businesses can be disrupted when cyber criminals use technology to do harm,” said Henry Aguda, UnionBank senior executive vice president, chief technology and operations officer and chief transformation officer.

“To further protect Filipinos from these vulnerabilities, we at UnionBank are continuously fortifying our IT security solutions. We are also complementing this measure with our #CyberSure information campaign to offer Filipinos actionable guidance on how they can protect themselves from cyber perpetrators and practice safe online behavior. If everyone does their part, the interconnected banking world will be more resilient for everyone,” said Aguda.

Union Bank advised consumers to “never click on links in text messages or emails, no matter how realistic they look.”

The bank also urged consumers to always check the email sender and go directly to its official app, UnionBank Online, to verify their transactions; and to be careful on what they publicly share on social media, as fraudsters gather data by looking up email addresses online.

Union Bank said it set up an integrated operations center (IOC), which is a collaborative facility to address the growing cybersecurity concerns.

This allows the bank to respond to cyber threats faster, as well as provide remediation steps and coordinate the incident response across groups more effectively, it said.—AOL, GMA News