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ICT Office, Quezon City—Members of the National Cybersecurity Inter-Agency Committee engaged in a four-day workshop on Cyber-Incidence Handling at the ICT Office Building. This workshop was made possible with the support of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

 

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On the first day of the workshop, Deputy Executive Director Nicolas D. Ojeda Jr. provided a background of the project: “Since the start of this administration, cybersecurity has been an identified national security concern, [and] the government has established mechanisms to safeguard our cyberspace. [This includes] the National Cybersecurity Inter-Agency Committee [that was] created last year in order to coordinate the preparation of measures to strengthen cybersecurity capabilities against existing and future cyber threats.” He stressed that the workshop would bring about better equipped cybersrecurity units that can lead the government’s efforts in handling threats in the cyberspace. Later on the day, he presented further about the national cybersecurity policy of the Philippine government, with emphasis on the creation and implementation of the National Cybersecurity Inter-Agency Committee under Executive Order (EO) No. 189.

 

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In her speech, Ms. Aurora A. Rubio, Head of the ITU Area Office for Southeast Asia shared Deputy Executive Director Ojeda’s sentiment: “The absence or lack of appropriate institutional structures to deal with cyber incidents and attacks is a genuine problem in responding to cyberthreats. ITU is working with member states like the Philippines, among others, with regions, and with our partners to deploy capabilities and build capacities at the national and regional level….This workshop aims to contribute to previous as well as ongoing global activities related to building confidence and security in the use of ICTs…[which] is also laced with the ITU cybersecurity agenda.”

 

Ms. Rubio, later on the day, further elaborated the ITU’s role in promoting Cybersecurity in Southeast Asia. As a specialized UN Agency with focus on Telecommunication and ICTs, their mandate is to coordinate radio spectrum and assign orbital slots for satellites, bridge the digital divide, and establish global standards in ICT. To execute their mandate, ITU has set four major Cybersecurity and the Global Telecommunication/ICT Targets for 2020, which are:

  • Growth – enabling and fostering access to and increased use of telecommunications/ICTs
  • Inclusiveness – Bridging the digital divide and providing broadband for all
  • Sustainability – Managing challenges resulting from the telecommunication/ICT development
  • Innovation and partnership – Leading, improving and adapting to the changing telecommunication/ICT environment

To do this, they are implementing a multi-level response to the cybersecurity challenges, working on national, regional, and international levels.

The ITU resource persons gave an overview of today’s Cybersecurity Landscape. In the presentation, it was mentioned that “ICTs have become an integral part of information society,” but at the same time, the “vulnerability of national infrastructures increase as the use of ICTs take root.” Given this fact, there is a need to create a Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) in order to be ready for any threats. He further mentions that since “cybercrime is a global problem, so it goes without saying that it needs a global response,” therefore the role of the CSIRT should include the need to build up the national cyber defense and improve incident response capabilities.

Throughout the four-day workshop, different resource persons then conducted lectures based on industry and ITU standards, providing the theoretical framework in order to understand threats and execute the proper responses. After which, exercises were conducted to simulate real-life situations wherein the participants can apply their new-found knowledge. The workshop followed this format of theory and praxis, making sure that the candidates were immersed in all of the possible situations that they could encounter.

During the closing ceremonies of the workshop, Deputy Executive Director Ojeda expressed his gratitude to all of the speakers and the participants of the workshop. “ICT Office recognizes your role of ensuring a safe ICT environment for the country’s citizens as well as the training of well-versed and CSIRT-adept officials. Thus, this workshop will contribute to the success of the joint efforts between our Government and the international community in establishing the team of incident responders capable of handling any threat that might come from cyberspace.”