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NBI says it has traced at least 20 ‘hacktivists’

The National Bureau of Investigation is investigating members of Anonymous Philippines, a group that has claimed on its Facebook account that it hacked the website of the NBI and those of other agencies.

Special investigator Joey Narciso of the NBI Computer Crimes Unit said also being monitored were Anonymous Occupy Philippines, Prisoner, Private X, Sibusabo and others.

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“Anonymous is a worldwide group, but not organized. It’s a loose group with no definite agenda and does hacking for fun and for its ego. It has no leader,” Narciso said.

Narciso said the NBI had traced at least 20 suspects in the hacking of various government agencies.

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“The individuals will be charged with hacking and violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012,” he said.

As the Cybercrime Prevention Act took effect Wednesday, Anonymous Operation Philippines owned up to the hacking of a number of government websites as a sign of protest.

Included in the list of targeted websites were:

Other websites hacked or defaced since last week included:

  • mwss.gov.ph – Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System
  • ntc.gov.ph – National Telecommunications Commission

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Wednesday ordered the NBI to go after hackers who defaced government websites.

De Lima said there was a clear line between legitimate expressions of dissent and criminal acts.

“Disagreeing with certain sections of the law or questioning the legislative intent is no excuse to commit crimes—defacing websites whether government or not, disrupting essential operations and services and causing damage to scarce resources,” she said.

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The new law punishes acts against the integrity of computer systems like illegal access and interception, data and system interference, misuse of devices and cyber-squatting, De Lima said.

The Department of Defense acknowledged that the defacement of government websites was a security concern as it posed a “threat” to government and civilian services to the public.

Defense department spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez urged “hacktivists” to use legal means to air their protests against certain provisions in the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

“There are several other means for people to express their grievances other than hacking or defacing websites. (Hacking) will do no good,” Galvez told reporters.

Narciso said the NBI website had not been hacked. “There was an attempt to penetrate our website using the distributed denial service attack or DDOS, which started at 1 a.m. on Wednesday,” he told reporters.

“DDOS is a method where several users will try to access the website at the same time which will lead to the slowdown of response time of the host site,” he explained.

Narciso said the NBI shut down its website briefly due to the attack at round 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. “In a DDOS attack, the option is to shut down the website to prevent the site to crash.” he said.

“Normally DDOS always comes with Botnet, with zombie computers that give commands,” he added.

Narciso said the NBI probe showed that the attempt to hack the bureau’s website mostly came from Metro Manila, particularly Makati City. With reports from Nikko Dizon and Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research

TOPICS: Anonymous Philippines, Cybercrime Prevention Act, DOJ, Freedom of expression, Government, Internet, Laws, legislation, NBI, Online Libel, Senate, Supreme Court, technology
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