The recent alleged defacement of foreign websites by local hacker groups is not condoned nor encouraged by the Philippine Government. This was mentioned by Officials from the Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-ICTO). The University of the Philippines website was allegedly defaced by Chinese nationals sympathetic to China’s claims on what is known internationally as Scarborough Shoal which resulted in a supposedly retaliatory action by local hacker groups doing the same to several Chinese websites.

“We understand the concern of our local hacker community on this issue, however exchanges such as this one will not benefit anyone and could lead to bigger problems in the future for both countries concerned and could escalate the already tense situation in Panatag Shoal.” This was stated by Mr. Louis Casambre Executive Director of DOST-ICTO. Attempts at distributed denial of service (DDOS) from foreign origins on gov.ph were detected yesterday and promptly blocked by government IT administrators. Access latency on several government websites were also evident as a result the DDOS attacks.

According to DOST Secretary Mario Montejo: “These alleged hacking and counter-hacking activities are unsanctioned by either governments and is basically a reflection of what citizens of either country feel about the situation. It is our job in government to seek diplomatic solutions to these issues and not let these things get out of hand”

The hacking of the U.P. website demonstrates vulnerabilities of some government sites and the need for more stringent cybersecurity standards. “Along with the Cybercrime Bill that is currently undergoing bicameral review, the DOST-ICTO in cooperation with the Office of the President is at the final stages of developing an Executive Order creating a top level body which will spearhead government efforts on cybercrime and cybersecurity, and will strengthen the necessary coordination and implementation of uniform security standards in government.” Mr. Casambre added. About DOST-ICTO – The Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology is the Philippine Government’s lead agency on ICT related matters. Its primary thrusts are in the ICT Industry Development, eGovernment, ICT policy development, Internet for all and Cybersecurity.

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