Thursday, October 18, 2018
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Hacking of Comelec voters’ list continues

The attack on the website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) continues but will not affect the outcome of the elections, according to the National Bureau of Investigation.

The hacking earlier breached the master list of registered voters found in the precinct finder database.

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NBI head agent Ronald Aguto of the cybercrime division said the Comelec had sought the assistance of the bureau in identifying and looking for the hackers who were also able to deface the Comelec website.

“It does not contain crucial data related to the upcoming elections aside from the voters’ master list, which is public record anyway,” Aguto said.

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He said “hackers cannot add to or remove names [from the master list] unless it would be uploaded to a fake website, which could be quickly shut down by authorities. The least it (hacking) could do is briefly sow confusion.”

The cybercrime head agent downplayed the hacking incident despite the continued attack on the poll body’s website.

“The hacking could not cause disenfranchisement because the master list is intact,” Aguto said.

He said his team had met with Comelec employees and asked them to submit the website’s activity log.

“We suggested that the Comelec review its website after the incident, check its databases and strengthen its fire wall, or a software program that prevents hackers from infiltrating a website or a computer system.” Aguto said.

He said there was no cause for alarm because the list was intact.

“Although the attack continues, Comelec has strengthened its wall and our investigation is focused on the hackers and on whether the master list was downloaded,” Aguto said.

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The cybercrime head agent downplayed the impact of the breach, saying “the list was open to the public and did not contain confidential data.”

He assured the public that the breach on the website could not affect the results of the May 9 general elections.

“The system used in the counting and transmitting of votes is separate from the Comelec website that was hacked,” Aguto said.

When asked if the voters’ master list could be tampered with and manipulated to help certain candidates and cause disenfranchisement, he said, “We could not discount the possibility, but the chance is very remote.”

He added that his team had obtained the information on the location of the servers used by the suspects, who claimed to be members of Anonymous Philippines.

The hackers urged the poll body to strengthen its security measures to ensure clean elections.

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TAGS: Comelec, Commission on Elections, National Bureau of Investigation, Ronald Aguto
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