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Website bogs down, ‘but not to worry,’ says Comelec

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The website of the Commission on Elections bogged down the last few days but the public need not worry as it is not connected to the system to be used on Election Day, a Comelec official said Saturday.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the agency’s website slowed down due to the high number of visitors trying to access the site and not because it had been hacked.

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“The problem is that many of users were loading the PDF (portable document format) files of ballot templates so that was eating up our bandwidth. Definitely the problem is that too many people are trying to access the site right now,” Jimenez said.

He said access to the Comelec website began to slow down on Thursday but the problem continued until yesterday. Jimenez said the Comelec Education and Information Division (EID) was trying to resolve the problem.

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“But that website will not be used for the election results. So people shouldn’t worry because we will be using another website for the precinct results,” he said.

Jimenez said the slowdown would not affect the elections since the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines were not connected to the Comelec website.

“It will not affect the reporting results because we will be using another website and we have not released the URL (uniform resource locator or web address) for that other site,” he said.

Asked about the possibility the PCOS machines would be attacked on Monday, Department of Science and Technology spokesperson Raymond Liboro said: “The PCOS resides in a totally independent environment and is not open to any outside malicious attempts.”

Other websites attacked

The DOST said that hackers had attempted to attack several government websites on Saturday, raising fears that the technology-savvy community would do the same to the voting machines on Election Day.

Liboro said “external” forces had “attempted to get into the systems of websites” hosted by the DOST, prompting its personnel to shut them down as a “preventive measure.”

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He did not say what specific websites had to be shut down, but he said that among those hosted by the DOST were the Congress and Department of Health websites.

The Senate website (www.senate.gov.ph) could not be accessed at 1 p.m.

Although the Comelec website (www.comelec.gov.ph) was also down at the time, Liboro reiterated that this was not hosted by the DOST, and that its handler, possibly Eastern Telecommunications, may have resorted to the same “security measure.”

“As far as the websites (hosted) by the DOST are concerned, the attacks were unsuccessful,” he added.

The sites were accessible again late in the afternoon, he said.

While he did not dismiss the possibility   that unknown sources, including hackers, could try to attack the websites again on Election Day, he said that “historically,” the DOST had “always managed.” With a report from Kristine Felisse Mangunay

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TAGS: 2013 elections, Comelec, Commission on Elections, Election Day, James Jimenez
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