Hactivists attack government, other PH websites
MANILA, Philippines—Several government, civil society and other private websites were defaced Wednesday night by an unidentified hacker calling itself “Anonymous Philippines” in protest of the recently enacted anti-cybercrime law.
The hacker threatened to carry out more attacks.
As of Wednesday midnight, the website of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, the American Chamber of Commerce, and the Philippine Anti-Piracy Team succumbed to the cyber-attacks. The websites of the anti-smoking campaign unit of the Department of Health and think tank Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis followed suit, bringing to six the number of websites attacked.
Twitter users first sent tips about the hacking of the BSP website close to 11 p.m., after which the Philippine Daily Inquirer relayed the incident to BSP officials.
“I saw it and I have alerted our web managers,” said BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo. “We will go to the bottom of this issue.”
Instead of opening to the BSP’s usual homepage, the central bank’s website www.bsp.gov.ph opened to a black screen with Anonymous Philippines’ statement about the CyberCrime Prevention Act of 2012, which it said effectively ended freedom of expression in the Philippines.
At close to midnight, Twitter users also reported the hacking of the MWSS website www.mwss.gov.ph, indicating that a string of cyber-attacks targeted government websites. The same statement posted on the BSP website appeared in the MWSS’ defaced website.
The hacker said this law was “the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber-history of the Philippines, and 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, but some part of the bill basically says it can imprison anyone who commits libel either by written messages, comments, blogs, or posts in sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other comment-spaces of other social media in the Internet.”
The hacker demanded the revision of the law, adding that new technologies were giving people new opportunities to connect with a lot of people not only in this country but all over the world.
“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,” it said.
The statement was accompanied by rock music titled “Freedom” by the band Rage Against the Machine.
In a statement issued early Thursday, BSP Deputy Governor for Resource Management Juan de Zuñiga Jr. apologized for the website disruption.
“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,” Zuñiga said.
“As of 2 a.m. today (Thursday), the website of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has been up and running, restored and able to serve the public once again. The BSP’s internal Information Technology Group worked on the immediate restoration of our website after ensuring that our security firewall kept our database protected,” he said.
As of 12:26 a.m., the BSP appeared back to normal and the hacker’s homepage deleted but BSP officials said the current data were not fully restored until 2 a.m. Nevertheless, BSP’s Guinigundo said the central bank was grateful for being warned about the disruption early enough to address it before the markets opened Thursday morning.
One hactivist announced the challenge to commit cyber-crime in social networking site Facebook by a user #pR.isOn3r. The post hinted in its footnote that the BSP website was a target.
“Challenge Accepted,” the hacktivist said. “If speaking up against idiocy in government and unconstitutional amendments is a crime, then I am PROUD TO BE A CYBER CRIMINAL.”
“We are anonymous. We are Legion. United as one. Divided by none,” the hacktivist said. “The corrupt fear us. The honest support us. The heroic join us. Expect us.”
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