The Philippines’ House of Representatives cyberattack has been confirmed and is currently under investigation.
The DICT released a statement on Monday, noting that the cybersecurity incident took place on Sunday. The investigation is being led by the DICT’s Philippine National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-PH). The website has been temporarily taken offline.
“We wish to inform the public that the official website of the House of Representatives experienced unauthorized access earlier today,” read the official statement.
Moreover, according to the officials, on the day of the incident, the HOR’s website, congress.gov.ph, displayed an image with the text “you’ve been hacked” with a troll face. The image was uploaded by an individual or group identifying themselves as “3musketeerz.”
Further, BNN Bloomberg reported that the streaming notices on the HOR’s plenary site featured YouTube videos featuring a dancing troll face.
House of Representatives Cyberattack: Official Statement Released
In a statement released on Monday, the DICT revealed that the House of Representatives Cyberattack had been reported to them by the HOR.
The HOR took swift action by immediately suspending the website to prevent any further unauthorized access. The DICT’s Philippine National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-PH) has taken the lead in investigating the breach.
“The HOR immediately put the website offline to prevent further unauthorized access and reported the incident to the DICT,” said the official release.
Currently, the HOR website is not working, and it is expected to be restored to normalcy once the necessary security measures have been put in place.
Screenshot of http://www.congress.gov.ph
House of Representatives Cyberattack: DICT’s Response
One of the primary concerns during this investigation of the House of Representatives cyberattack is to determine if any sensitive or confidential information was accessed by the unidentified threat actor. The DICT is working closely with CERT-PH to identify and rectify security vulnerabilities within the HOR’s website.
The DICT emphasized that they are dedicated to ensuring the security of government websites and will implement necessary measures to fix the vulnerabilities that allowed the breach to occur.
After the completion of CERT-PH’s investigation, the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) and law enforcement agencies will take over, working on threat actor attribution and building a case against those responsible for the breach. The authorities are committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice.
“The DICT reaffirms its commitment to be an active partner of government agencies as they fulfill the primary responsibility of safeguarding their own ICT systems and infrastructure against cyber threats,” said the official release.
Similar Data Breaches
This incident marks yet another troubling episode in a string of recent cyberattacks targeting government institutions around the world.
In July 2023, a major data breach at the Norway Ministry sent shockwaves through the administration, affecting a total of twelve government ministries. The severity of this cyberattack was a significant challenge for the Norwegian government to contend with.
Furthermore, just a month earlier in June 2023, reports emerged regarding a purported data breach of the Australian government website. A cybercriminal who goes by the alias ‘UsNsA’ publicly claimed to have accessed a substantial 500 files from the government’s online infrastructure, raising concerns about the security of sensitive government data.
These data breaches of government websites have highlighted the importance of safeguarding national official websites and the need for constant vigilance against cyber threats.
In the case of a cyberattack on the House of Representatives website, the DICT has reassured the public that they will continue to support government agencies in protecting their information and communication technology systems from cyberattacks in the Philippines.
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