Manila: The Philippine Department of Justice said it is eyeing the establishment of special courts across the country to handle cybercrime cases.

In its 2014-2015 Cybercrime Report, the justice department said it has already submitted a proposal to the Supreme Court for the creation of Cybercrime Court that will handle cases perpetrated in cyberspace.

“This is in line with Section 21 of Republic Act No. 10175 which states that: ‘There shall be designated special cybercrime courts manned by specially trained judges to handle cybercrime cases,’” the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in the report which was released in March.

Currently, there are a few courts that are capable of handling cyber crimes in the country.

Such actions were the Philippines’ response to crimes perpetrated through the internet or through online devices. These offences include cyber-espionage and intellectual property theft, cybersex, among others.

Among the multifarious crimes committed in cyberspace, espionage and intellectual property theft is the most damaging.

“Cyber-espionage attacks or intellectual property theft is considered as the major threat that increasingly hits the manufacturing sectors as well as small businesses with 42 per cent surge during 2012 compared to 2011,” the DOJ report said.

It added that 31 per cent of attacks targeted small businesses.

“Consumers remain vulnerable to ransomware and mobile threats, particularly on the Android platform,” it said.

Small business, due to their size and limited finances, are hardly capable of spending for cybersecurity countermeasures, such as firewalls and antivirus or anti-worm software.

Nevertheless, the DOJ Cybercrime Report said that the Philippines is making achievements in the cybersecurity front in terms of lessening incidents of data breaches.

According to the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, the Philippines has moved from number 35 in 2012, to rank 39 among countries globally on internet threat activities.

“The top growing trends that organisations in the country should watch out for in today’s threat landscape includes advanced targeted attacks, mobile threats, malware attacks and data breaches,” it said.

Targeted attacks are growing however, with the number of daily targeted attacks increasing from seven per day to 82 per day by the end of 2011.

The report says targeted attacks usually use social engineering and customised malware to gain unauthorised access to sensitive information.

The report likewise said that the most frequent cause of data breaches that could facilitate identity theft or loss of a computer or other medium on which data is stored or transmitted, such as smartphone, USB key or backup device.

“From January to December of 2014, the Philippine National Police — Anti-Cybercrime Group recorded 614 cybercrime incidents, compared to 2013 where there were only 288 incidents,” the DOJ report said.