Cybercrime cases continue to rise, up 21.84 percent in Q1

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
Cybercrime cases continue to rise, up 21.84 percent in Q1
From January to March, the ACG recorded 4,469 cybercrimes compared to 3,668 cases during the same period in 2023.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Cybercrime cases rose by 21.84 percent in the first quarter of 2024, according to the police Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG).

From January to March, the ACG recorded 4,469 cybercrimes compared to 3,668 cases during the same period in 2023.

The top three crimes that contributed to the spike were online selling scams at 990 cases, debit and credit card fraud at 309 and investment scams at 319, ACG director Maj. Gen. Sidney Hernia said in a statement.

Increased online activity, sophisticated cybercrime tactics and the public’s lack of awareness could be the causes for the rise in cybercrimes, he added.

The increasing reliance on online platforms for shopping, financial transactions and investment opportunities has created a larger pool of potential targets for cybercriminals, Hernia noted.

“As cybercriminals continuously refine their tactics, there is a pressing need for individuals to educate themselves about cybercrimes,” he said.

To avoid becoming a cybercrime victim, Hernia urged the public to monitor news reports on cybercrimes and be familiar with red flags in online transactions.

Meanwhile, Quezon City police arrested on April 4 a man who threatened to publicize an intimate video he secretly recorded.

The suspect, alias Jes, demanded P10,000 from the victim he met on dating app Tinder. He received P6,000 and demanded more.

He is facing criminal charges of robbery with intimidation of a person and violation of the Safe Spaces Act, in relation to the Cybercrime Prevention Law.

BOC apps hacked

The Bureau of Customs’ external cloud-based online applications have been hacked.

In a Facebook post, the BOC alerted the public that its data system had been breached on April 17 using “compromised user login credentials.”

The agency is now coordinating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center.

“Currently, we are still determining the total number of data subjects involved,” the BOC said.

Based on its initial investigation, the agency believes that information involving names, email addresses, company names, contact details and tax identification numbers might have been compromised.

“Upon discovering the incident, we immediately initiated security protocols to contain and address the situation by locking all compromised accounts and servers,” the BOC said.

The agency’s information technology team has been working to enhance security measures and prevent future breaches.

Those transacting with the BOC are advised to change the password of their login credentials and report any suspicious activity in their account.

The DICT yesterday said it isolated the data breach on BOC systems and its containment is ongoing, as it affected the agency’s help desk ticketing system and data reporting and analytics.

Hackers did not gain access to the agency’s electronic-to-mobile system, which “covers the whole breadth of the Customs processing system,” DICT Undersecretary for cybersecurity, connectivity and upskilling Jeffrey Ian Dy told The STAR. — Evelyn Macairan, Rainier Allan Ronda

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