HyperVerge, a fraud detection firm based in Silicon Valley, has decided to make the Philippines its first base in Southeast Asia.
The region, which is rapidly digitalizing amid the pandemic, has become a hotbed for cybercriminals who take advantage of policy loopholes to defraud customers out of sensitive information or cash.
Over the last year, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines fell victim to major cyberattacks. These included the leak of 91 million Tokopedia users’ sensitive information and the theft of 1.5 TB of sensitive data from Singapore’s ST Engineering Aerospace.
Philippines: a perfect storm for cyberthreats
The Philippines is an equally attractive target for cyberattacks. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, reported that from March to May 2020, 98.4% of crimes and losses filed by banks were online in nature. This accounted for as much as P60 million worth of reported losses.
According to the ASEAN Cyberthreat Assessment by Interpol, phishing scams have emerged as the number one cybercrime in the Philippines. It is followed closely by online selling scams, which have increased exponentially as more businesses turn to online platforms like social media for sales.
Businesses with remote working employees, a growing sector in the Philippines, are also especially vulnerable. Cyberattacks often target these businesses, who receive increasingly personalized lures over time, especially if their security measures aren’t up-to-par or upgraded regularly enough.
In response, Philippine legislators have been working on a law to combat cybercrimes in the financial sector.
“Digital platforms made it possible to keep our economy going, but it has also become an opportunity for crime to thrive. That is why we must put up the proper safeguards that will not only avoid criminal activity but also unlock the potential of digital platforms as well,” said the chairperson of the Senate committee on banks, financial institutions, and currencies.
HyperVerge CEO Kedar Kulkarni says that the country’s vulnerable local fintech market has presented a huge opportunity for his company, which is also looking to achieve secure financial inclusion for the country’s fast-growing population.
“We want to help Filipinos gain more access to financial services, and our technology creates an information ecosystem that makes it easier for lenders to verify the information and detect fraudsters from the get-go,” Kulkarni said in a statement.
HyperVerge has worked with notable clients across the globe, including CIMB, Home Credit, SquidPay, State Bank Of India and Grab.