Singapore introduces measures to strengthen digital banking security

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) are to introduce a set of measures to improve digital banking security.

The changes come following a recent spate of SMS-phishing scams targeting bank customers in the country.

According to MAS, it expects all financial institutions to have in place robust measures to prevent and detect scams as well as effective incident handling and customer service in the event of a scam.

The organisation will work alongside banks in Singapore to put in place tougher measures within the next fortnight. These will include the removal of clickable links in emails or SMS’ sent to retail customers, the delay of at least 12 hours before activation of a new soft token on a mobile device. There will be a threshold for funds transfer transaction notifications to customers to be set by fault at $100 or lower.

Other measures to be introduced include notifications to existing mobile numbers or emails registered with the bank whenever there is a request to change a customer’s mobile number or email address. A cooling-off period before implementation of requests for key account changes will be required, as well as more frequent scam education alerts and dedicated and well-resourced customer assistance teams to deal with feedback on potential fraud cases.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon said, “MAS is deeply concerned about the recent spate of scams and the financial losses suffered by victims. The threat of scams will not go away, but we can reduce our vulnerabilities. This requires a multi-pronged response across the ecosystem. MAS, together with the Police, IMDA and other relevant government agencies, is working closely with the financial industry, the telco industry, consumer groups, and other stakeholders to strengthen our collective resilience against scam attacks. We will ensure that digital banking remains secure, efficient, and trusted.”

ABS chairman Wee Ee Chong added, “As an industry, we have always focused on the need to ensure robust security measures while meeting customers’ expectations for convenient and swift services. Together with the MAS and ecosystem players, the banking industry will continue to strengthen consumer protection measures.  We also ask that the public stay vigilant given that scams continue to evolve and are executed quickly. We remain committed to upholding the confidence with which customers can transact online safely, while still maintaining a high level of service.”

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