Comelec.gov.ph and other vital government websites have been taken offline by Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) cyberattacks just days before the most important day in our democratic way of life.
Transport, telecommunications, and mass media networks are reported to be fending off similar attacks, which are alleged to have originated from Taiwan. A DDoS attack is one where networks or websites are deliberately and maliciously flooded with network traffic, overloading the available bandwidth and thus denying legitimate users access to said networks or websites. In the case of the COMELEC website, this would mean depriving the public of a critical source of information on election results. This diminished access may lead some minds to doubt the credibility of the electoral process.
We at Democracy.Net.Ph reiterate our concern at the state of Philippine cybersecurity, especially the defense of our national cyber-resources. Today’s cyber-attack, as well as similar past incidents, highlights the vulnerability of our cyber-infrastructure. Unfortunately, except for the fleeting references to the Cybercrime Prevention Act, information and communications technology (ICT) issues have largely been ignored in this election cycle.
We, as a nation, must engage in a serious discussion of a rational, comprehensive, and constitutional approach toward the development and defense of our national cyber-resources before cyberattacks endanger lives and property. An indispensable first step is to elect leaders who are cognizant of ICT issues and who will genuinely work toward protecting and promoting our rights and security in cyberspace.
It is time to take our ICT advocacy offline.
Democracy.Net.PH spearheaded the drafting of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, a crowdsourced document by netizens committed to espousing internet freedom in the Philippines. For any questions, feel free to contact Engr. Pierre Tito Galla, PECE, at email@example.com. A copy of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, as well as a Primer about the MCPIF, are both featured on Democracy.Net.PH.