Tulfo warns vs cyber attacks, danger to national security – Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Expressing alarm over threats to the country’s national security due to lack of cyber security infrastructure and technology, Sen. Raffy Tulfo has stressed the need for the government to be cautious in procuring computers and other technological needs from foreign countries.
During the finance subcommittee hearing on the proposed 2023 budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and its attached agencies on Tuesday, Tulfo noted that the Philippines is vulnerable to cyber attacks from foreign countries perceiving the country as an enemy.
“I fear for my country, I fear for our people, I fear for my family, that maybe one morning we will wake up with a different trend in the Philippines. It is possible for foreign hackers to launch widespread cyber attacks on countries they perceive as enemies to create chaos,” he said.
He made the statement after representatives from the DICT and Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) confirmed that the Philippines has weak defenses against cyber threats and attacks.
Tulfo said he hopes that Congress would consider increasing the 2023 budget of the DICT and its attached agencies.
“Your budget should really be increased so that you can protect our cyberspace against cyber attacks. This is for the benefit of the Filipino people and to protect our national security,” he said.
Aside from strengthening defenses against cyber threats, Tulfo said the country needs to invest in Filipino “gifted IT experts” who are well versed in anti-hacking practices.
The senator cautioned the DICT and CICC against the so-called “watering hole” technique, which is used by hackers to infect viruses on computers that suppliers distribute to an intended target. Hackers would normally wait for the infected computers to be installed and call home before launching attacks.
He also warned against a virus called “zombies,” which previously infested more than 730,000 American computers and turned them into slave computers that were used in cyber attacks.
Tulfo said another cause of cyber security concern is the group of hackers called Hidden Lynx, which has been linked to high-profile cyber attacks around the world. It has attacked tech companies such as Google, financial service providers, defense contractors and government agencies.
“Many will be affected when other countries launch a cyber attack against us. Hackers can destroy the operations of our power grid, public utilities, government offices and even military installations. So we should be careful when it comes to procurement of computer systems,” he said.
Tulfo added that cyber attacks could affect railway trains, communications and banking and financial institutions.
He warned that foreign hackers could also interfere in the election process, just like what happened in the 2016 US election where there was widespread false and malicious information dissemination.
He also expressed alarm about the installation of cell towers partially owned by a foreign entity within the country’s military camps as it poses serious national security threats.
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