FIA urges info safety audit at banks


The central financial institution on Saturday hosted a gathering together with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the highest officers of the industrial banks “to strengthen and coordinate efforts to fight money laundering, cyber attacks and online frauds”.

“The FIA team offered support in strengthening cyber security at banks and suggested them to carry out information security audit of their systems,” the SBP mentioned in an announcement.

The assembly recognized key follow-up areas and related timelines for strengthening cooperation between the SBP, the FIA, and banks within the areas of cash laundering, cyber assaults and on-line frauds.

Welcoming the FIA suggestion for the data safety audit, “the SBP informed that as per existing regulations, banks are required to regularly carry out their information system audit and penetration testing, however, it would be re-emphasised to the industry through PBA [Pakistan Banks Association],” the assertion added.

SBP Governor Reza Baqir chaired the assembly with FIA Director General Sanaullah Abbasi. The assembly was additionally attended by presidents of banks and senior officers of the FIA and the SBP.

Baqir emphasised the necessity for shut cooperation amongst banks, the SBP, and the FIA in order that “white-collar crimes are expeditiously investigated and fraudsters are apprehended and prosecuted”, the assertion added.

The SBP has taken a number of measures within the current previous to strengthen its work on anti-money laundering (AML) in addition to regulatory and supervisory measures to enhance banks’ controls to forestall digital and social engineering frauds, the assertion mentioned.

In addition to raised controls on the monetary establishments degree and enhanced buyer consciousness, efficient investigation and prosecution of criminals was wanted to considerably scale back incidences of cash laundering, digital frauds and cyber assaults, the central financial institution mentioned.

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To recall, the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) encountered haunting cyber assaults in the long run of October and the center of August, respectively. Hackers, nonetheless, did not steal vital knowledge and the banks’ deposits, it was learnt.

Besides, Pakistan continued to stay on the gray listing of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the worldwide cash laundering and terror financing watchdog, since 2018. So far, Islamabad has applied 26 out of complete 27 FATF suggestions and received considerably a excessive rating on the FATF compliance as in contrast with many developed international locations positioned on the white listing, it was additionally learnt.

In the current previous, nonetheless, the ruling PTI had alleged a variety of main politicians largely belonging to the opposition that they had been concerned in cash laundering. The authorities had claimed up to now that it unearthed a variety of financial institution accounts which had been used to illegally switch funds from Pakistan to international international locations.

The monetary sector can be required to strengthen its cybersecurity forward of the launch of full-fledged on-line banking within the nation as presently, restricted branchless banking companies can be found.

Quite a few industrial banks are prepared to start out 100% on-line banking and the central financial institution is predicted to permit the launch of the brand new service quickly, it’s learnt. The full-fledged on-line banking additionally requires a high-security atmosphere to maintain depositors and their knowledge protected from hackers.