As China Cyber Threat Grows, Philippines Understaffed Security Team Turns to Hackers for Help

World Defense

As China Cyber Threat Grows, Philippines Understaffed Security Team Turns to Hackers for Help

Defense News ,Philippines :- Recent problems in the South China Sea have shown that the Philippines is vulnerable at sea. But there is an even bigger problem – cyberattacks sponsored by other countries, and the Philippines is not fully prepared to deal with them.

In a report from November, a group called Stately Taurus from China was accused of attacking a Philippine government agency. This happened at the same time as clashes between the two countries in the South China Sea. Palo Alto Networks, a US cybersecurity company, says Stately Taurus actions match the interests of the Chinese government.

Philippine officials find it hard to blame a specific country for cyberattacks, but the country faces many online security breaches. In the third quarter of last year, more than 60,000 user accounts were compromised, making the Philippines one of the top 30 most-attacked countries globally. In September, the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. had a massive data leak, and hackers also defaced the House of Representatives website a few weeks later.

Sherwin Ona, a cyberdefense consultant, says cyberattacks are a bigger threat than water cannons. Unfortunately, the government cyber response team is small, with only 35 members. They sometimes have to work with anonymous "black hat" hackers who may have attacked government websites before but are now willing to give tips on upcoming threats.

Jeffrey Ian Dy, undersecretary at the Department of Information and Communications Technology, says they lack the funds to address the problem properly. The Philippines can not offer competitive pay to recruit and keep cyber experts in government agencies. Ideally, the team should have about 200 members, but currently, they are doing their best with just 30 people.

Its not just the government agencies taking notice of the threat. Romeo Brawner Jnr, the chief of staff for the Philippine armed forces, announced plans to recruit more "cyber warriors" in October. He believes that cyber threats are almost a daily issue, including from unidentified foreign forces.

Worldwide, governments have been warning about China potential digital threat. The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence highlighted China as a major cyber espionage threat. China Foreign Ministry denied these accusations, stating that it opposes baseless rumors and slanders. Sherwin Ona points to Taiwan experience, saying that China is using Russia playbook against its adversaries.

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