Budapest, November 15, 2023 – The first year of the CyberShield program, which enhances digital security, has been realized through unprecedented collaboration. The experiences of the cooperation were summarized at a conference, and the continuation of the CyberShield program was announced.
Fake bank calls, deceptive online commercial offers, caller ID spoofing, callback phone scams (wangiri), phishing emails – these are just a few of the deceptive actions we encounter every day in the digital space. In order to prevent and reduce financial abuses committed in the digital realm, the Hungarian National Bank, the Hungarian Banking Association, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority, the National Cyber Security Institute of the National Security Service, and the National Police Headquarters entered into an agreement called "CyberShield" in November 2022. Later, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Justice, the Hungarian State Treasury, and the Regulatory Activities Supervisory Authority also joined the collaboration.
The goal of the CyberShield program is for customers, authorities, and market players to collectively create "bulletproof" protection against digital criminals. Within the framework of the CyberShield project, comprehensive and coordinated communication campaigns are conducted by institutions and market players to present cyber security risks and defense options. The Media Union Foundation is also a communication partner (kiberpajzs.hu, akulcstevagy.hu).
However, CyberShield is more than just communication. Throughout the year, there is intensive collaboration to analyze and enhance cybersecurity regulatory and market processes. Additionally, continuous domestic and international knowledge sharing and gathering of best practices are ongoing to achieve stronger and more effective financial cyber defense.
Following the summary of the experiences of the first year of collaboration signed until December 31, 2023, the partners announced the continuation of the program.
Dr. András Koltay, the President of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH), emphasized that two significant topics affected the Authority in the first year of CyberShield: interventions by service providers to hinder caller ID spoofing and the review of regulatory opportunities related to these interventions, and the investigation of frauds that harm users of financial services using the names and branding of postal service providers. "We have made significant progress in these areas, both in technological and regulatory issues. Service provider interventions and the development of new regulatory frameworks have significantly contributed to strengthening the cybersecurity environment. The development of service provider interventions to hinder caller ID spoofing and the associated regulatory opportunities is currently one of our most important professional tasks," he added. He stated that NMHH is committed to continuing the work started to closely collaborate with its partners for further strengthening the security of the online space.
In his speech, Dr. Csaba Kandrács, Deputy Governor of the Hungarian National Bank (MNB), stated that the Hungarian banking and payment system is secure, but further action is needed since 72 percent of financial abuses are now due to phishing attacks against customers. Therefore, the CyberShield customer education program must be effectively continued in 2024. It is a significant success that the kiberpajzs.hu website, renewed in April this year, has been visited by 171,000 consumers in recent months, with two-thirds of them being aged 55 and older, belonging to one of the vulnerable groups.
MNB recently issued an anti-fraud recommendation focusing on the handling of frauds in banks, examined abuses related to online loan applications, and is actively participating in EU and national legislation (e.g., establishing a hotline between the police and banks). As the owner of GIRO, which processes payments, MNB is building a Central Abuse Monitoring System that will help banks prevent abuses on interbank networks.
"The establishment of rules and practices for fraud prevention and management aims at protecting consumers and restoring and increasing trust in financial services. We should handle our finances with attention and in a calm environment whenever possible. The basic principle is that if something goes wrong, we must act immediately: informing our financial service provider, our bank, and aiding the work of law enforcement agencies immediately helps if we take steps there as well," emphasized Dr. Anikó Túri, Administrative State Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development.
János Balogh, Major General and National Police Chief, added that the police are at the forefront of the CyberShield initiative, as the number of offenses committed in the online space is increasing. He drew attention at the conference that neither the National Police Chief nor police leaders send payment demands, so if someone receives an email of this nature, they should be suspicious of an attempt to deceive. He also pointed out that the reimbursement of damages caused by crimes is a cornerstone of the police's crime-fighting strategy, which applies to online frauds as well.
He informed the attendees that in the fall of 2023, the National Police initiated the Matrix Project, in which 300 cyber investigators nationwide work to coordinate and uncover online crimes. There are already results from the first month of detective work, with arrests and charges made, and several offenders have been placed in custody. The police have a good international network, so it is likely that foreign offenders will also be identified. As a closing thought, he sent a message to the perpetrators: "Don't relax, because we will find them!"
Dr. Marcell Biró, President of the Regulatory Activities Supervisory Authority, emphasized in his speech at the conference: "In Hungary, our Authority is responsible for supervising the cybersecurity certification of digital products. Initially, we are preparing the certification rules for so-called IoT products (digital products connected to a digital network). We will coordinate the draft regulation with the European Commission in mid-November. It is necessary to conduct the technical notification procedure, which is expected to take a minimum of 3 months. The introduction, providing adequate preparation time, is expected by mid-2024, making Hungary the first EU member state to have the complete legal regulatory environment necessary for cyber certification."
Dr. Róbert Répássy, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, stated that the ministry is connected to cybersecurity in two ways: firstly, through raising awareness of consumer protection and taking decisive consumer protection authority action, and secondly, through aiding victims of crimes and offenses against property. He added that education targeting the general public is ongoing, and much work still lies ahead. Unfortunately, due to continuously changing and increasingly sophisticated methods, even people who have already informed themselves on the topic are successfully deceived by cybercriminals, sometimes losing millions of forints. Active and regular information and education are needed due to these constantly evolving and more sophisticated methods. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice will provide all necessary assistance to support the CyberShield program and to convey its messages to everyone.
Major General Csaba Kiss, Director-General of the National Security Service, emphasized that their goal is to achieve high-level cybersecurity, particularly focusing on government agencies and vital system elements. In addition to this, their main mission is to help people defend themselves against abuses in cyberspace and to support their preparation for future cybersecurity challenges. He emphasized that they are pleased to participate in the CyberShield collaboration and are committed to actively supporting its future activities.
Bugár Csaba, President of the Hungarian State Treasury, stated that due to the importance of the matter, the Treasury is an active member of the CyberShield collaboration. Its goal is to increase customers' awareness of cybersecurity and protect savings on securities accounts. To achieve this, new security features aimed at preventing phishing incidents will be integrated into the WebKincstár and MobilKincstár interfaces in the near future.
In his address, Levente Kovács highlighted that in the digital age, there are no longer telegram carriers, and bank robbers have disappeared. Instead, new risks have emerged – the scammers of cyberspace. The most effective way to defend against them is through collaboration and the CyberShield program. As a co-founder, the Hungarian Banking Association confirms its commitment to the continuation of the CyberShield program and will organize and coordinate extensive professional collaboration with the same enthusiasm in the future.
For more details about the program: kiberpajzs.hu
Joint press release of the CyberShield collaboration members.