No less than 68 Philippine government websites were attacked or “hacked” just a few days ago, according to PhilStar. The cyber attacks ranged from hacking, slowdowns, Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS, or defacement.
Major government websites attacked by hackers included the Department of National Defense, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Management Staff, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health and the domain registry website gov.ph. But the good news is, these sites have been up and running since yesterday.
However, other government websites were similarly attacked, like the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). But the authorities were able to prevent the cyber attack on BSP.
Hackers from The Netherlands?
The source of the attacks is still undetermined, but initial reports say they seem to have come from an entity operating in The Netherlands. Incidentally, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which issued its ruling on the West Philippine Sea in favor of the Philippines, is based in The Hague, Netherlands. But authorities have not yet established any connection between this and the hacking.
Hackers from China?
The news site Inquirer.Net, meanwhile, reported cyber hacks against some LGU sites in Bohol. Some websites were defaced allegedly by Chinese hackers who posted a Guy-Fawkes mask image with the message:
“Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice. If you are a man you take it.”
It was signed, “Chinese government.”
It is not confirmed, however if this particular hacking and message really came from the government of China. However, some observers say the attack came a few days after the Philippines won the arbitration case on the West Philippine Sea over China.
Earlier, a news report came from a cyber security firm about the hacking of the PCA website last July. Sources say the attack was traced to “someone in China.” It came amid the hearing on the arbitration case. China has always steadily asserted, even before the conclusion of the arbitration, that it will not abide by any decision reached by the international tribunal. Instead, it will adhere to its own claim.
Hackers from Indonesia?
Just last summer in April, it was reported on PhilStar that a so-called Indonesian Defacer Team was responsible for hacking government, private and even school websites, again including Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Again, the attack on the BSP site was prevented.
Hackers from the Philippines?
A local group called Anonymous Philippines was once involved in defacing the COMELEC website. However, it denied being involved in the summer website hackings. It has not yet issued any statement on the recent PH government hackings.