Bank account hacking
on the rise
Lack of awareness is cited
as the cause of most cases
The number of cybercrimes through online banking accounts has increased from one case in 2011 to 63 today, according to the Special Investigation Commission (SIC) of the Central Bank (BDL), which said that the stolen amounts range between $1,500 and $2 million.
“Cybercrimes are not individual cases, but rather happen through well connected criminal organizations or criminals aware of where to carry out their hacking,” said Abdul Hafiz Mansour, Secretary of the SIC. “Lebanon is a free economic market and a strong financial hub that enjoys high deposits, flexible in- and out-capital flows and active trade with international markets. That’s what explains the reason behind the rapid increase of cybercrimes in recent years,” he said.
Around 75 percent of cybercrimes affect individual consumers, while the rest takes place against financial institutions. “Most of the cases involve traders who still lack the awareness of protecting their deals with their counterparts abroad,” said Mansour. “Banks have their own control systems, in addition to a commitment to the requirements by controlling banking authorities. They also manage to take more precautious measures, once they have been hacked,” he said.
BDL has been active in recent years in issuing circulars related to developing payment systems through ATMs, plastic cards, and money transfers. It has also prohibited the use of electronic money and bitcoins.
A draft law concerning electronic transactions and the electronic signature (e-signature) is held up in Parliament. “If Parliament starts to meet regularly anytime soon, we hope this law may be ratified, as it would help greatly in controlling financial cybercrimes,” said Mansour.
Cybercrime is usually a crime conducted via the Internet or some other computer network. It may include anything from downloading illegal music files to stealing millions of dollars from online banking accounts. Cybercrime also includes non-monetary offenses, such as creating and distributing viruses on computers or posting confidential business information on the Internet.
Reported by Leila Rahbani
Date Posted: Nov 13, 2015