Thursday, February 29, 2024

China denies involvement in hacking of PH gov’t websites

China has denied allegations that Chinese hackers attempted to breach the email systems and internal websites of key government agencies in the Philippines.

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in the country said: “Some Filipino officials and media maliciously speculated about and groundlessly accused China of engaging in cyber-attacks against the Philippines, even [going] as far as connecting these cyber-attacks with the South China Sea disputes.”

China also said the allegations were “groundless,” and that Beijing “firmly opposes and cracks down on all forms of cyber-attack in accordance with law, allows no country or individual to engage in cyber-attack, and other illegal activities on Chinese soil or using Chinese infrastructure.”

Earlier, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) undersecretary Jeffrey Ian Dy bared that cybersecurity experts prevented the hacking of government websites and email addresses by China-based cybercriminals, and that one of these attacks was an attempt to take down the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) website.

The Philippine Coast Guard also earlier reported hacking attacks.

But Dy clarified that the DICT is not accusing the Chinese government of attempted hacking, saying only that the “threat actors were operating from within Chinese territory.”

Lawmakers have also started calling for an inquiry on the matter.

In Congress, House speaker Martin Romualdez has called on the DICT for a briefing.

In the Senate, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said she is seeking an inquiry into alleged cyberattacks originating from China Unicom, a state-owned telecom operator.

Bohol representative Kristine Alexie Besas Tutor, meanwhile, called on the government to train more cybersecurity professionals, noting that the country only has around 200 cybersecurity experts.

Targeted training and certification programs that are subsidized by the government in coordination with local universities and TESDA is among those suggested by Tutor, who is a member of the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology.


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