Following last week’s hostage incident in Manila, security breaches continued to haunt the Philippines, even in the virtual world.
The Philippine National Police website, http://www.pnp.gov.ph, was down for several hours due to attacks from alleged “hacktivists.” The official website of Bulacan, http://www.bulacan.gov.ph, was hacked by a group claiming to be from China and Malaysia, a page inserted demanding an apology from the Philippines for the August 23 hostage crisis. The Philippine Information Agency website, http://www.pia.gov.ph, was also defaced over the weekend, its homepage bearing the words “Hacked by 7z1″ and signature “Black Matrix Team | 0x.oday@Gmail.com”. The Hagonoy, Bulacan homepage, http://www.hagonoybulacan.gov.ph, showed the Chinese flag and Chinese characters that translated to “Do not underestimate our pain … Hackers from China by custom group F.M.T.”, with a dialog box saying, “You make me angry.”
Government officials have yet to confirm if the hackers who defaced the websites of government agencies were indeed from Hong Kong and China, or if the hacking was done locally and merely taking advantage of the situation.
Fortunately, the hacking incidents did not affect any vital government services as all the sites that were attacked were merely “brochure” sites with no interaction or database-building required between the particular government websites and the users. The hacking incidents only underlined the lack of security of government websites.
Presidential Communications and Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said Malacañang has alerted all government agencies to review and improve security of their websites. “We are adopting best practices to lessen the vulnerability of our websites to hacking and other cyber crimes,” he said.
Carlo Ople, the country’s first Certified E-Marketing Consultant says, “It’s more of a PR thing especially now that the temperature is a bit high.” He added that hackers can compromise a website by exploiting various weaknesses such as outdated scripts, third-party plug-ins or outdated software on the site, or even using programs to get a lot of computers to access a site to consume all the bandwidth and cause it to crash.
Ople adds that the Philippine government should tap reputable hosting companies to secure high-profile government websites. He also recommended employing the top IT professionals, a lot of whom are Filipinos, to help make government websites more secure
***this is reposted from the website http://definitelyfilipino.com/blog/index.php/archives/2615
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