February 22, 2022 | 5: 52pm
Artist’s rendition of cyber security hack
Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay
MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna lawmakers are calling on the House of Representatives’ information and communications technology panel to conduct an investigationinto the increasingly frequent cyberattacks on websites of news outlets.
Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat are also asking the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on websites of news outlets including Philstar.com, CNN Philippines and Rappler.
Apart from these websites, the sites of ONE News, CNN Philippines, GMA News, ABS-CBN News and VERA Files have been targeted by cyber attacks. Alternative media websites Bulatlat, Kodao Productions and AlterMidya have also been attacked.
DDoS attacks overwhelm website traffic to the point of it crashing. This is punishable under the E-Commerce Law by a fine of at least P100,000 and imprisonment of from six months to three years.
“Amid the widespread misinformation and proliferation of fake news, the government should identify and stop the perpetrators of these cyber criminal acts and hold them accountable for these undemocratic acts,” the lawmakers said in House Resolution No. 2493.
They also speculated that these cyberattacks “are probably aimed not only to interfere and disrupt the operations of the affected media entities but also at influencing the outcome of the May 9, 2022 elections.”
In a statement last week, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Altermidya, Bulatlat, Kodao and Rappler also called on the DICT and NBI to investigate and stop the cyberattacks, and identify and hold the perpetrators accountable.
They also suspect that the cyberattacks are “orchestrated, systematic and politically motivated” given their timing and frequency. — Xave Gregorio