House calls for DICT briefing on gov’t websites attacked by China-based hackers  

House calls for DICT briefing on gov�t websites attacked by China-based hackers  
PCG spokesman Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said yesterday that he is not discounting the possibility that the reported alleged attempt to hack their website could be connected to the WPS issue. 
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has asked the Department of Information and Communications Technology to hold an immediate briefing on recent cybersecurity breaches by China-based hackers on government websites.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez on Monday called for the DICT to hold a briefing "as soon as possible," possibly this week, in a hearing presided over by the House committees on public information and information and communications technology.

The DICT last week reported having thwarted attempts to hack into the government websites of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. 

Jeff Ian Dy, DICT undersecretary for cybersecurity, said that they traced the IP address of the attackers to Chinese state-owned telecommunications firm China Unicom or China United Network Communications Group but could not say whether the Chinese government had anything to do with the hacking attempt.

Besides attempts to breach government servers, the DICT also said that there have been "spyware or espionage" activities trying to log into government email addresses connected to the PCG, the National Coast Watch and the DICT itself.

Dy added that the hackers tried to get into the email addresses of the websites of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his Cabinet, as well as other government websites, including the policy and research arm of the House.

“The revelation that hackers, suspected to be operating from China, have infiltrated the email systems and internal websites of various government agencies, is a matter of national security and public interest,” the House leader said.

“The fact that these breaches have targeted critical domains such as cabsec.gov.ph, coastguard.gov.ph, cpbrd.congress.gov.ph, dict.gov.ph, doj.gov.ph, and ncws.gov.ph, in addition to the private domain of President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr, signifies a dire need for an immediate and comprehensive response,” Romualdez added.

The House leader said that the hearings will focus on the nature and extent of the cyber-attacks, what the government is doing to prevent future incidents and strategies for enhancing the government’s cybersecurity infrastructure

The hearing should be open to the public to encourage transparency, Romualdez added. — Cristina Chi

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