NBI goes after ‘hacktivists’ vs. gov’t main portal

The National Bureau of Investigation said it would unmask the hackers behind a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the state’s main online portal,  Gov.PH, even as the group CyberPH for Human Rights vowed to launch more cyberattacks to protest the killings of activists and other human rights violations.

“This new form of protest is now upon us. Mr. Duterte and his government should watch out for more,” the group said as it slammed the killing of nine militants in what police claimed was a legitimate operation endorsed by search warrants on March 7.

NBI-Cybercrime Division chief Victor Lorenzo said it was working closely with the Department of Information and Communications Technology to go after the hackers.

“In 2012, there were massive attacks on government websites and we addressed those by arresting a very notorious hacker at that time so the attacks subsided on government websites. This is going to be our approach also,” Lorenzo said.

He noted there were also attacks last year, like the Office of the Solicitor General’s online job application system (career.osg.gov.ph) that was defaced in December.

“There were previous attacks in 2020 and we’ve been monitoring their activities and we are confident we will address the issue and could identify those behind these attacks,” Lorenzo said.

The DICT, he said, has identified sources of the attacks and would provide the NBI with details.

The NBI also said the hackers claimed they managed an “exfiltration of certain databases” but this has yet to be proven.

“They could easily claim that. But sometimes they say that to brag,” Lorenzo said. “One of the motives in hacking websites or defacing websites or doing these DdoS attacks is for bragging purposes or, of course, plain and simple hacktivism.”

He said claims of compromised databases should not be taken hook, line, and sinker.

“We have to validate those because there are reports that turn out to be false,” Lorenzo said.

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