PH faces heightened cyberattacks in upcoming elections

By Priam Nepomuceno

May 3, 2024, 11:30 am

<p><em>(Anadolu photo)</em></p>

(Anadolu photo)

SAN NARCISO, Zambales – The Philippines will face a greater risk of cyberattacks from foreign cyberthreat groups, especially in the coming elections, a threat assessment presentation said.

"Cyberattacks are anticipated in the mid-term 2025 and 2028 national elections" and could disrupt the peaceful and orderly conduct of the polls, the presentation showed during the National Security Cluster Communications of the "Bagong Pilipinas" Media Engagement and Workshop held at the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) here Thursday.

The threat assessment also warned that the “misuse of artificial intelligence (AI) could become a destructive tool in (the) cognitive domain (and) have a divisive effect in the public and social order during (the) PHL election period."

Without directly identifying the source of the cyberthreats, the threat assessment noted that the challenge to the country’s "cybersecurity defense domain" will come from “foreign adversaries.”

These cyberattacks are considered "hybrid warfare" and will target information and communications technology networks of the national government and private entities, it said.

The threat assessment comes on the heels of recent cyberattacks on several government websites, purportedly from Chinese hackers.

In February, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said it foiled a cyberattack that targeted various government email addresses, including that of the Philippine Coast Guard and even the private website of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

It said other targets were government Google Workspaces, specifically the domain administrators of the Cabinet Secretary, the Department of Justice, the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department of the Congress, the National Coast Watch System, and the DICT.

Also in January, the DICT was able to thwart the attempted hacking of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration’s web applications. (PNA)