PLDT and Microsoft partner to battle cybercrime wave in Philippines

pldt and smart microsoft rising cybercrime philippines
Image by TexBr | Bigstockphoto

PLDT and Microsoft have formed a partnership to reinforce infrastructure security and digital borders to battle growing cybercrime cases in the Philippines.

The partnership will bolster the existing cybersecurity systems of PLDT and its mobile subsidiary Smart Communications to protect over 70 million mobile and over 3.7 million broadband users.

The partnership will utilize Microsoft’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Program (CTIP) through its Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) comprising an international team of technical, legal, and business professionals. 

Under the deal, PLDT gains access to DCU, providing it with better insights into criminal cyber infrastructure within its area of service in real time. In return, PLDT will share its network domain knowledge and identify compromised infrastructure and alert affected institutions, companies, and individuals to potential cybercrime threats in the country.

“To date, the DCU has completed 24 malware disruption operations worldwide, resulting in millions of devices kept safe from cybercriminals and preventing millions in financial losses,” said Microsoft Philippines Country General Manager, Andres Ortola.

In the first half of 2021, the Philippines ranked sixth among the largest contributors to human-initiated cyber attacks by volume, according to a cybercrime report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions. These cybercrimes were driven by credit card testing attacks targeting a payment gateway. The Philippines also has the highest fraud rates in mobile and desktop platforms with similar causes of payment gateways attacks and testing stolen credit card details across APAC.

In recent months, phishing scams have targeted Filipino teachers with LandBank accounts soon after BDO and UnionBank’s systems were hacked, resulting in unauthorized transactions in multiple client accounts.

PLDT says it has invested almost $58 million (PHP3 billion) in cybersecurity infrastructure in the past year, acquiring information on 200 million cyber threats and preventing 300 million cyber-attacks.

“Our mature and sophisticated threat intelligence operations is one of the key and most robust pillars of the PLDT group’s cybersecurity structure. We are glad to partner with Microsoft to help fortify our strong cyber threat intelligence operations, and to help us better protect our customers in particular, and the country’s cyber defenses in general,” said Angel T. Redoble, FVP, Chief Information Security Officer, and head of PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group.

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