QIIB held a specialised workshop for its cadres that focused on cyber-security and the technological challenges that banks are currently facing.
The workshop highlighted the bank’s major achievements in responding to the requirements of the digital age as well as maintaining the safety and environment of its banking transactions and providing the necessary protection for customer accounts and personal data from attempts of hacking and other banking frauds.
These are now considered some of the most important challenges banks are facing in the light of growing electronic penetration and newer methods of fraud and theft of confidential financial data by professional and specialised gangs.
They target more victims through newer tricks and techniques with the aim of stealing their money and bank statements.
At the beginning of the workshop, QIIB Deputy CEO Mr. Jamal al-Jamal talked about the integrated strategy adopted by QIIB years ago, to tackle technological challenges.
He pointed out that the bank invested effectively in its cyber-security infrastructure, which has reached a very advanced stage and currently allows it to keep pace with the best globally-used software and technologies.
This also helped the bank effectively control all attempts of hacking and fraud and ensure that all its operations are conducted in accordance with the highest security and confidentiality standards. These are done maintaining the confidentiality of customers’ information and banking transactions, thus helping the bank win several awards on information security and customer transactions.
He affirmed, “The bank gives great importance to cyber-security risks that are wide-spread in various fields namely banking, as it is the most targeted sector. We worked on many aspects in order to address and mitigate these risks. So we invested in the latest technology, which is very important and essential but at the same time insufficient, unless backed by campaigns that raise customer awareness about the risks of hacking and frauds that affect many, who unfortunately might be held liable if not fully aware of how to deal with such cases”.
Al-Jamal added: “On our own initiative and in response to the directives and circulars of the supervisory bodies represented by Qatar Central Bank, we periodically send alerts to customers about the risks of fraud and hacking. We also have a hotline working round the clock to help our customers avoid any hacking or fraud that may expose them to losses".
The Deputy CEO pointed out that "QIIB made a qualitative shift during the last few months in terms of conducting financial transactions through alternative channels that require a very high level of security and protection against hacking and fraud. We have succeeded in preventing all attempts of hacking and fraud to which the bank's customers were exposed, by investing in information security technology and our human cadre. We made sure that those who work in cyber security have the highest competences and we are keen to train all the bank employees and raise their awareness about the possibilities of various types of hacking and fraud to ensure our permanent readiness in this regard”.
“We achieved a significant increase in the number of mobile, internet and telephone banking users and noted a significant decrease in the number of customers visiting the bank's branches. At the same time there is an increase in requests for various electronic services, which is natural and logical, and meets our goals. Most electronic services can now be sought through alternative channels from customers’ workplaces or homes such as transfers, requests for check books, payment of bills, account statements and other banking services”.
Al-Jamal said, “Effective cooperation with all bodies and supervisory authorities concerned with cyber-security is important and paramount to maintain the highest security standards, address all attempts of hacking and cooperate to raise public awareness about the risks of fraud and penetration".
During the workshop, Hesham Mohameden, Chief Information Security Officer clarified, “QIIB is continuously following up the latest developments related to the protection of information and updating its 1processes, mechanisms and procedures and setting up effective and efficient internal controls to ensure compliance with the highest levels of protection and security.
In this framework, the Bank established a Committee for Combating Fraud and Financial Crimes in order to adopt a proactive approach to detect potential frauds and develop procedures to address these innovative methods through the development of systems and programs and updating work procedures in line with the constant changes in the work environment so as to mitigate such risks.
He said, “QIIB is also interested in training and enhancing human capacities in the field of cyber-security by training employees working in this field, ensuring their participation in specialised training courses and holding specialised training programs in cyber-security to develop their skills. The Bank’s employees already follow intensive training programs introducing them to the latest methods, tools and techniques”.
“Though preventive measures and security precautions are implemented to protect customers' accounts from electronic penetration, we are facing rapid changes in information technology and increasing reliance thereon, which leads to increased exposure to attempts of fraud and penetration. However, QIIB has the necessary means, procedures and capacities developed for such cases through which we can contain or minimise hacking attempts.
“Despite the preventive measures and security precautions implemented to protect customers’ accounts, many cases have been registered with external parties behind them, which requires tightening supervision and imposing controls and procedures that ensure the protection of customers' money and data from any scam or banking fraud whatsoever. It also requires quick measures to fill the gaps and system weaknesses, if any, through which gangs steal the customers’ money from time to time as well as anticipate any potential frauds and adopt methods to address the same before their occurrence. This cannot be done without increasing awareness about any current or emerging banking frauds, as well as raise awareness among banking customers while ensuring their data bank secrecy”.
Mr. Mohamed Khair Barhoumah, chief operating officer, said that maintaining the confidentiality and security of customers’ information and accounts is one of QIIB most important priorities. In this framework, we have taken appropriate measures by applying the best security methods and means to preserve the security and safety of customer accounts, raising awareness and enhancing customer protection through the non-disclosure of banking information.