Gov’t Websites Hacked

MANILA, Philippines --- Hackers, apparently trying to challenge the newly signed Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, struck Wednesday night and defaced the websites of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), and a unit of the Department of Health (DOH).

There were also reports that the websites of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 3 and the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) were also hacked. However, the DENR denied the report.

The hackers, under the name Anonymous Philippines, attacked the government websites in protest of the new law against cybercrimes.

The BSP website was down for about two hours, starting before midnight of September 27 and partially restored by 12:30 a.m. As of 12 noon yesterday, the website's statistics section and other data-heavy sub-sites are still inaccessible.

BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo was the first to comment, assuring public users who regularly check the website for financial indicators such as exchange rates and interest rates, that the central bank would soon fix the problem. "It's done, we're doing something about it," he said.

In an official statement, BSP Deputy Governor for Resource Management Juan de Zuñiga Jr. said: "For a few hours, our website was inaccessible to those who needed to get real-time information from the BSP. We apologize to the public that we serve for this interruption." He added, "as of 2 a.m. today (Thursday), the website of the BSP has been up and running, restored and able to serve the public once again."

Zuñiga said the BSP's internal information technology group had worked on the website's immediate restoration. "(Our) security firewall kept our database protected."

Just last week, the BSP announced that it will start implementation of a new system that will accommodate the online registration of both public and private foreign borrowing plans under its Foreign Loan Approval and Registration System or FLAReS. All applications for approval/registration of loans will be submitted via Internet to the BSP.

Aside from investments and other transactions registered and done online, the BSP's website is also the main and reliable source for the country's crucial economic data on external accounts, foreign exchange reserves, and all information about the banking and financial system.

Anonymous Philippines, in a statement posted on websites, said the cybercrime law "effectively ends the freedom of expression in the Philippines." It called the law "notorious" and harsh in its wording.

It complained that "the language of the bill is cunningly designed to make you think it only applies to individuals who are deep in cyber-technology and doesn't apply to everyone."

Basically, the group claimed, the new law can imprison anyone who posts comments on blogs, Twitter, or Facebook and other social media sites on the Internet that are found to be libelous.

Anonymous Philippines described the new law as "the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber-history of the Philippines."

The MWSS said a third-party host of its website is currently fixing the problem.

The government agency added that it would be replacing the current program platform that would "secure" their website and ensure that there would be less chances of being hacked.

A lot of people access on a daily basis, but the message that greeted users yesterday was: "The website is currently under development. Please check back with us later. Thank you."

Anonymous Philippines said that technology helps people connect from all over the world, and give Filipinos a chance to speak their minds.

"It is just so disappointing that our government, in adopting our 80-year-old antiquated libel laws to the Cybercrime Law, again seems to have retarded our march with the rest of the world with respect to giving full force to the people's freedom of expression. We ask for a revision of the bill for the betterment of the Filipino denizens," the hacker said.

With this development, Malacañang urged hackers to put their grievances in the proper forum instead of resorting to hacking.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in a press briefing yesterday said that those who have concerns on the newly signed law should show their protest in the proper forum.

As this developed, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III filed yesterday a fourth petition seeking to declare unconstitutional certain provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) and oral arguments, Guingona said certain provisions "are too vague" and might violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

Guingona III and Senator Francis Escudero said some provisions in the anti-cybercrime law are "vague" and vowed to initiate amendments to the newly signed law.

Both agreed there are provisions in the law which are deemed "unconstitutional" and admitted they were "unaware" when the particular provision was inserted during the period of amendments.

"On its face, this law is unconstitutional," Guingona stressed.

The law also does not set a fair standard of penalty for those who committed libel. "While libel committed through traditional print media is punishable by up to four years and two months imprisonment, online libel is punishable by a shocking 12-year imprisonment period," he noted. (With reports from Madel R. Sabater, Hannah L. Torregoza, and Rey G. Panaligan)


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon
    Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon

    By Matt Siegel CANBERRA (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia's deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The search of a rugged …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options