Jamaica’s banks experience nearly two cyberattacks per week on average, and in one extreme month, hackers made off with $10 million, according to the latest official data.
The average losses, however, amount to just over $4 million per month.
“For those affected it is a significant loss and we are working with law enforcement because protecting customers’ privacy is critical,” said David Noel, president of the Jamaica Bankers Association and president and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica.
The Bank of Jamaica also sees it as a rising problem for the banks themselves and is considering new rules to manage the risk.
Between January and September 2018, there were 62 counts of Internet banking fraud in Jamaica, totalling $38.2 million in losses – or $4.2 million per month on average – according to the newly released 2018 Financial Stability Report, which is published by the Bank of Jamaica.
It is the most recent data available from any source as the banks themselves do not quantify the problem. However, they do acknowledge that it is growing and that the intrusions and scams are increasingly more sophisticated.
“These threats are evolving. They are trying to access banking platforms, and we continuously invest to protect it. All financial institutions are doing this,” Noel said. “But also, our customers are at risk from viruses and malware along with the use of social engineering to access customer information. By that I mean they use trickery to get customers to hand over information to access their accounts,” he said.