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Cyber attack on Philippines government sites

Pages were redirected to a banner carrying a statement on cybercrime law

Gulf News

Manila: A number of government websites have fallen prey to a wave of cyber attacks as pages were redirected to a banner carrying a statement opposing a newly-approved law on cybercrimes.

As early was Wednesday, Internet users trying to access the websites of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipines (BSP or Philippine Central Bank) as well as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Luzon Region, the Department of Health and two other websites; suddenly found themselves herded to a webpage titled “Anonymous Philippines.”

Following the title line, the hackers outlined their message: “The Philippine Government has just passed a bill that effectively ends the Freedom of Expression in the Philippines. The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber history of the Philippines, and the language of the bill is cunningly designed to make you think it only applies to individuals who are deep in cyber technology and doesn’t apply to everyone, but some part of the bill basically says 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,” it read.

Hastily typed notwithstanding, the statement carried the message across that a group is willing to resort to hacking to protest against the law that in the first place, tries to outlaw such an activity.

“New technologies give us new opportunities to connect with a lot of people not only in this country but all over the world. It is just so disappointing that our government, in adopting our 80-year-old antiquated libel laws to the Cybercrime Law, again seems to have retarded our march with the rest of the world with respect to giving full force to the people’s freedom of expression,” the message said.

In conclusion, the message sought: “We ask for a revision of the said bill for the betterment of the Filipino denizens. Protect our Right to Freedom of Expression!”

The fresh cyber attack, which made its presence felt on Wednesday and Thursday, was apparently not intended to cause serious damage any government site or transactions involving them, nevertheless, it demonstrated the hackers’ ability to strike virtually at will and target any site of their choosing.

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