'Anonymous Philippines' on a Hacking Spree
MANILA, Philippines – A hacktivist group struck down several government websites Wednesday night in protest against the recently enacted anti-cybercrime law that imposes penalties on hacking, online libel and similar activities.
The group identified as “Anonymous Philippines” attacked the websites of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Health Anti-Smoking, the University of the Philippines'Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis,Philippines’ Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT), the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Region 3 and theAmerican Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
The hackers replaced the websites with a predominantly black interface, an animated logo and a statement against the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The group calls the new law "the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber-history of the Philippines."
Anonymous Philippines, whose Facebook page boasts over 250 fans, also called the new law's provisions on libel "cunningly deceptive" in implying that everyone can be imprisoned even for their licit online activities.
"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 group claimed, tagging themselves with the lines "We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us."
As of posting time, some of the hacked websites have not been restored.
Traditionally, .gov domains are considered the most
secure online sites.
'Up and restored'
Certain links at the official website of the BSP remain inaccessible to public hours after the portal was defaced by a group condemning the passage of the anti-cybercrime law..
"As of 2 a.m. today, the website of the (BSP) has been up and running, restored and able to serve the public once again," a statement released on Thursday said.
"The BSP's internal Information Technology Group worked on the immediate restoration of our website after ensuring that our security firewall kept our databse protected," it added.
The BSP website was one of the government portals hacked by Anonymous Philippines in its protest against Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which the group sees as a form of online censorship. A group of journalists on Tuesday filed a stay order petition against the law before the Supreme Court.
However upon checking, despite the website already being restored, certain links to electronic files of BSP issuances and publications remained unavailable.
Recently, the Department of Science and Technology’s Information and Communications Technology Office issued directives to all government system administrators to review their websites’ security to prevent more hacking attacks.
The directive was issued after a series of attacks on government websites at the height of the tense territorial dispute between China and the Philippines over the Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.