Budapest, September 7, 2023 – The Ministry of Economic Development and the Hungarian State Treasury have joined the CyberShield project. The National Bank of Hungary (MNB), the Banking Association, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH), the National Cybersecurity Center - National Cyber Security Institute (NBSZ-NKI), the National Police Headquarters (ORFK), the Ministry of Interior (IM), and the University of Public Service (SzTFH) have formed a collaborative educational and communication initiative aimed at preparing the public to defend against digital financial criminals who typically target consumers through emotional manipulation and deception. The institutions participating in the CyberShield project have come together to enhance the financial awareness of the public and more effectively manage cyber risks. The importance of this initiative is reflected in the fact that not only the member institutions of the project but also other market players and organizations are striving to improve customers' digital financial knowledge through awareness campaigns.
The Ministry of Economic Development and the Hungarian State Treasury have recently joined the CyberShield project, which was launched with active participation from the National Bank of Hungary in November of last year. This was announced during a press conference by the involved organizations. Representatives of the Hungarian Banking Association and the Media Union Foundation also provided information at the event about cybersecurity measures and research findings in this field.
Patai Mihály, the Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Hungary, welcomed the new members of this collaboration in his speech. He emphasized that various institutions and major players in the domestic financial industry are working together to ensure that consumers recognize and understand the risks associated with electronic financial transactions and can address them appropriately. To achieve this goal, they have revitalized the kiberpajzs.hu website launched almost a year ago, where they provide comprehensive knowledge, alerts, interesting articles, and simple video messages about various forms of fraud. The Deputy Governor also introduced a new recommendation issued by the MNB this summer, which sets various expectations for domestic banks to prevent and combat abuses successfully. These expectations include the development of bank abuse detection systems, emphasizing consumer awareness measures, and customer protection regulations. He also announced that, in collaboration with GIRO Ltd., they are planning to introduce a central abuse detection system that provides real-time additional information not obtainable from the financial service providers' own analyses.
The government is taking every possible measure to protect families and households, and financial security is no exception, said Dr. Túri Anikó, representing the Ministry of Economic Development. She added that with the increasing digitization, unfortunately, the number of frauds and abuses is also on the rise, making financial education and awareness more critical than ever for consumer protection. This is the purpose of the PÉNZ7 program and is further reinforced by the CyberShield initiative, which now includes the Ministry of Economic Development. The ministry's goal is not only to expand knowledge but also to draw attention to the immediate action required in case of any problems and to provide assistance and appropriate information to victims of fraud or deception, summarized the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development.
The Hungarian State Treasury, a market leader in securities distribution with over 820,000 clients and a total government securities portfolio exceeding HUF 7,000 billion, has been involved in the CyberShield collaboration through the Hungarian Banking Association from the beginning. Due to the importance of the topic, they have now joined independently. The Hungarian State Treasury aims to increase its clients' awareness of cybersecurity and the protection of securities accounts. The President of the State Treasury, Csaba Bugár, emphasized that their systems are secure, continuously tested, and improved. Criminals do not target the State Treasury's systems but rather the clients themselves, who unfortunately provide their information to scammers.
Dr. Kovács Levente, the Secretary-General of the Hungarian Banking Association, highlighted during his presentation that the cyber threat in daily life is comparable to what COVID was in the health sector; it has invaded our lives and created new rules. Cybersecurity in cyberspace requires not only collective defense but also individual caution and conscious attention. Protection and vaccination are provided by CyberShield. According to data from the MNB, in the first quarter of 2023, the total value of abuse related to bank cards exceeded HUF 1.6 billion, while the value of successful abuses related to electronic financial transactions (primarily transfers) was nearly double, reaching HUF 3.1 billion. However, it is important to emphasize that in Hungary, the rate of abuses observed through electronic financial transactions remains low compared to the total financial transactions, even though their number and value increased in the first quarter, added the Secretary-General of the Banking Association.
The campaign of the 15-year-old Media Union Foundation, titled "You Are the Key!", draws attention to the dangers of cyberspace and online awareness. According to research conducted in collaboration with IPSOS, more than 22% of Hungarian users have fallen victim to online fraud. "Cybercriminals mostly aim to deceive users directly, using increasingly sophisticated methods. That's why the Media Union chose online data and financial protection as this year's campaign theme," said Ferenc Kardos, CEO of the Media Union Foundation. The research showed that the overwhelming majority (69.9%) of those who fell victim to online fraud knew who to turn to for help, which, in the case of financial fraud, was their account-holding bank. Among those who had not yet fallen victim, two types were distinguished: conscious users and those who were lucky. The "You Are the Key!" campaign website provides effective tools for both groups to navigate the online space with greater confidence.
In the face of increasingly intense cyber threats, institutions, financial service providers, and market organizations are continually working to improve customers' digital financial awareness through awareness campaigns throughout the year. The CyberShield project places special emphasis on young people, vulnerable social groups (including the elderly), but also conveys preventive messages to small and medium-sized businesses and other corporate clients.
Hungarian National Bank, Ministry of Economic Development, Hungarian State Treasury, Hungarian Banking Association, Media Union Foundation