Cyberattacks on alternative media outlets traced back to military intelligence unit

Artist's rendition of cyber security hack
Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — A Swedish digital forensics non-profit has traced back the recent cyberattacks on alternative media outlets AlterMidya and Bulatlat and rights group Karapatan to a military intelligence unit.

A digital certificate showed that the machine that conducted a “vulnerability scan” on Bulatlat was linked to the email address acepcionecjr@army.mil.ph and the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, according to Qurium.

This same machine was also using an IP address registered as the Department of Science and Technology, Qurium said.

Qurium added that it found within the network of the DOST machine another setup with an identical firewall configuration, “strongly suggesting that the machine was set up and operated by the same organization.”

DOST has denied involvement in the cyberattacks, saying that tracing back the attacks to an IP address linked to them does not mean they had a hand in these.

It explained that they allow some of their IP addresses to be used by other government agencies, without saying what government agency used their IP address.

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AlterMidya and Bulatlat have said that DOST should investigate the use of its IP address.

Bayan Muna lawmakers are also pushing for a congressional probe into the cyberattacks.

The websites of Kodao Productions and Baguio City-based Northern Dispatch have also been experiencing DDOS attacks since May.  — Xave Gregorio

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