Several Philippine government websites became the target for various form of cyberattacks just four days after the country won the ruling on the maritime arbitration case against Chinese government over the West Philippine Sea. These cyberattacks were not limited to hacking and defacement, slowdowns and Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS).
There were at least 68 websites that have been subjected to these attacks as reported by PhilStar. Among of these websites were agencies such as the Department of National Defense, the Philippine Coast Guard, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health, the Presidential Management Staff and the gov.ph domain registry website. Furthermore, it is reported that there’s also an attempt on hacking the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas website, but quickly enough the authorities were able to stop it.
An initial investigation suggests that the attacks originated from an entity supposedly operating from the Netherlands, although this source of attacks has yet to be confirmed. It’s an interesting note that the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that issued the ruling on the Philippine case is based in The Hague in the Netherlands.
The Inquirer.net also reports that among the defaced websites include those belonging to the Bohol LGUs such as Panglao (http://www.panglao.gov.ph) and Loon (http://www.loon.gov.ph). These attacks were claimed to be coming from Chinese group of hackers.
The hacked websites show an image of a Guy Fawkes mask which is considered to be commonly associated with Anonymous hacktivist group along with the text in capital letters:
can give you
can give you
equality or justice
If you are a man
you take it.”
– Chinese government
It has been reported that the Department of Science and Technology had provided counter measures and additional protection to the Philippine websites following the repeated incidents of these cyberattacks.