Senate recorded ‘spike’ of cyberattacks on Sunday —exec

The website of the Senate of the Philippines also received a “spike of attacks” on the same day the House of Representatives’ website was defaced, Senate Secretary Renato Bantug Jr. said on Tuesday.

“As soon as we learned of the [House of Representatives] website hacking, our team went on alert and continuous monitoring… Per our IT, we recorded a spike in attacks last Sunday,” Bantug said in a text message.

“May [there is a] perimeter and application firewall naman ang Senate but our tech team also made adjustments,” he said.

In an interview with Bantug, he said that the “unusual” spike last Sunday was considered by their anti-hacking software as “malicious.”

Fortunately, the attempts to hack their website were immediately mitigated and “none of the request succeeded,” he added.

“What we have in the website are essentially public documents. Records of proceedings, committee hearings. Only possible private data they can mine is our email server but none of our senators use our email servers so it will not be compromised at all,” Bantug said.

“It’s essentially just them trying to vandalize, putting graffiti in the homepage or denial of service. They’ll force us to go offline,” he added.

For Bantug, the hacking was done only for “bragging rights.”

Mario Antonio Sulit, director of the Senate Electronic Data Processing Management Information System, said the attempts are from bots from Germany, United States, Vietnam and some from the Philippines.

However, Sulit did not discount the possibility that the hackers are using a virtual private network (VPN) to disguise their online identity.

The website of the House of Representatives became inaccessible on Sunday after it was defaced by hackers.

The URL had the following message on its homepage on Sunday morning: “YOU’VE BEEN HACKED. YOU’VE BEEN HACKED. HAVE A NICE DAY.” It was accompanied by a caricature of a laughing man and the message “HAPPY APRIL FULLZ KAHIT OCTOBER PALANG! HACKED BY 3MUSKETEERZ 15-October-2023 || 11:31:24 AM” below it.

House Secretary General Reginald Velasco confirmed the hacking.

Department of Information and Communications Technology spokesperson Assistant Secretary Renato “Aboy” Paraiso said the department is coordinating with the House of Representatives regarding the matter.

Velasco earlier said the House of Representatives is considering tapping a third-party firm to improve its cybersecurity following the hacking incident. —KBK, GMA Integrated News

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