Oliver 8 0 0 5 min to read

Experts inform Marcos that cyber security is a concern of national security.

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Dindo Manhit, head of the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institution, stated at a recent seminar that the institute co-hosted with the US Embassy in the Philippines that “cybersecurity must be considered as a matter of national security.”

According to a statement about the conference that was released on Tuesday, Manhit was one of the geopolitical and cyber defense experts that urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to strengthen the Philippines’ cybersecurity in collaboration with the private sector and allies in the Indo-Pacific area.

As a result of the nation’s increasing exposure to cyber threats, Manhit stated that “the country’s digital infrastructure needs to be improved. Therefore, policies and initiatives must be devised and put into practice.”

“The Philippines and Indo-Pacific will be able to build a secure and reliable digital community only by creating a robust and credible cyber defense posture,” he continued.

Dan Ennis, a former director of the US National Security Agency’s Threats Operation Center, took part in the discussion as well. He also emphasized the importance of collaboration between the public and commercial sectors in the battle against cybercrime.

“From my perspective, the best way to combat cybercrime is by sector, entity, corporation, government agency, or wherever you sit. Decide on a list of priorities for your focus, and then express those priorities repeatedly. They might alter in the future, but communication will be very beneficial for both defending them and giving the public confidence that both the government and the private sector are doing the right thing, according to Ennis.

Program manager Paolo Pascetta of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CIDA) assured that in the fight against threats presented by both state and non-state actors, the US places “paramount significance” on its treaty friends in the Indo-Pacific area.

Pascetta confirmed that CISA intended to organize training sessions in Manila in the early part of 2023 on cyber hygiene and workforce development.

Similar comments were expressed by Francisco Domingo, an assistant professor of international studies at De La Salle University. He encouraged the federal government to incorporate the Department of Foreign Affairs into the National Security Cybersecurity Plan to improve it.

“I contend that the logical course of action is to take advantage of our alliance because we already have it if we’re confronting, let’s be candid, Chinese cyber operations. Although it’s unclear whether the treaty covers cyberspace, Domingo said that doesn’t mean we can’t concentrate on exercises, capacity building, and diplomacy.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) then declared that despite budget cuts for 2023, it has already begun pursuing public-private partnerships to defend Philippine cyberspace.

The National Bureau of Investigation has stated that it received more than 200% more reports of phishing cases in 2020.

Additionally, from March to June 2020 alone, there were 264% more recorded cases of children being sexually exploited online, according to the Department of Justice’s Cybercrime Office.

According to a poll conducted in 2021 by the cybersecurity company Sophos, 69% of Philippine firms were the target of ransomware attacks. In addition, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported receiving 42,000 complaints totaling P540 million in 2020–2021 about internet transactions.

According to Stratbase, 69% of Philippine businesses have been the target of ransomware attacks, citing a survey done in 2021 by the cybersecurity firm Sophos.

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