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Chile to expedite cybersecurity bill for financial sector, minister says

Chilean Finance Minister Felipe Larraín said the government is accelerating a legislation on cybersecurity for the financial sector following another security incident involving the country's top banks, Diario Financiero reported.

One of the government's objectives is to present a "good" proposal to the country's congress this year, Larraín said.

The announcement comes after several banks implemented safety measures over the weekend following a report that a Banco Santander Chile account may have been infected by malware.

Santander Chile proceeded to block the account and about 90 others while contacting banking association ABIF and other sector heads about the incident.

Banco de Credito e Inversiones SA, Itaú CorpBanca and Banco de Chile also took precautionary actions. Services were restored March 24.

According to Banco Central de Chile, material risks for the stability of the financial system have not been observed, thus there was no need to activate contingency mechanisms.

The incident was the latest in a series of cyberattacks against some Chilean banks over the past year, including one at Banco de Chile in May 2018 that resulted in the theft of about $10 million. The attack had wide repercussions in Chile that year, with regulators urging banks to strengthen their organizations' cybersecurity and lawmakers updating rules to bolster defenses.

In conjunction, Banco de Chile earlier this year appointed Salvador Danel, a former Microsoft cybersecurity manager, to head its new cybersecurity division, according to a La Tercera report.