DICT signs deal with Cisco PH on cybersecurity data-sharing

By Mary Jane Tadili

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and tech bellwether Cisco have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate and strengthen cybersecurity in the Philippines.

Photo shows (from left) Kerry Singleton, cyber security lead for advanced threat solutions at Cisco APJC; Eliseo Rio Jr., DICT acting secretary; Miyuki Suzuki, president of Cisco APJC; and Karrie Ilagan, managing director at Cisco Philippines

Under the MoU, both parties committed to enhance information and intelligence sharing on cybersecurity threats and incidents. Such commitment is under the Awareness Education Guidance and Intelligence Sharing (AEGIS) program of Cisco.

Kerry Singleton, Cisco cybersecurity director for Asean security sales, explained that under the AEGIS, Cisco made use of the telemetry data it collects to detect and identify potential threats and locate where they are originating from and provide these reports to the government and other stakeholders for them to decide to block it or what to do with the information as basis to take action. 

The agreement basically provides a mutual sharing whereby the Philippine government can share data of potential local threats with Cisco and other intelligence entities to ensure better protection from cybersecurity attacks.

DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said that enhancing cybersecurity capabilities across the Philippines has been a top priority for the DICT and the agency will benefit from the in-depth research from Cisco’s wide telemetry of threat intelligence and leverage the information to better protect the government and critical infrastructure in the Philippines against emerging cyber threats.

DICT and Cisco will also collaborate on specific programs to build up cybersecurity skills and capabilities in the Philippines, with the aim of enhancing the capacity and sophistication of cyber threat defenders in the country.

The two also agreed to conduct workshops and facilitate the exchange of ideas to enhance the cybersecurity of Critical Information Infrastructure (CII).

“As the Philippines continue to push towards digital transformation, we are committed to ensure that we build our cybersecurity capabilities accordingly. This not only includes adopting the right technologies, but also building the local talent pool in the sector. For this, all stakeholders from government, to industry and educational institutions need to work together. Our partnership with Cisco will play a key role in making our cyberspace safe and resilient,” said Rio.

Rio revealed that the DICT is currently building a National Computer Emergency Response Team (NCERT) whereby the agency intends to integrate and coordinate to connect all CIIs in the country. DICT will start with ten departments of the governments initially and integrate other departments and onto public and private sectors eventually.

Under the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022, DICT is mandated to assure the continuous operation of country’s critical information infrastructure; implement cyber resiliency measures to enhance the ability to respond to threats before, during and after attacks; effectively coordinate with law enforcement agencies; and boost cybersecurity awareness among citizens.

Karrie Ilagan, managing director at Cisco Philippines, said digital adoption and innovation are playing an important role in boosting the growth of the Philippines economy.

“The success of this digital transformation hinges in large part on the Philippines’ ability to tackle the cybersecurity threat. We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with DICT and play our part in improving the country’s cybersecurity resilience,” she said.

Ilagan said Cisco has been playing an active role in educating the public through the Cisco Networking Academy. She said the Philippine is the only country outside of United States that has the most number of trained students from their networking academy. 

Over 5,800 students in the Philippines have undertaken cybersecurity courses under the academy to date, with almost 400,000 students trained since its inception under the broader ICT curriculum offered through the Networking Academy.

“By building skills on cybersecurity courses, Cisco is on the forefront not just to help the Philippines in terms of response but also in terms of preparedness,” Ilagan added.

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