Govt urged to improve computer security

Following the hacking of the Commission on Elections' computerized voters' records, a private computer systems provider called on all government agencies and other entities to improve security measures to protect their data.

Accent Micro Technologies Inc. president Allyxon Cua said in an interview that computer administrators must change all passwords and improve security questions to prevent a repeat of the Comelec leak.

"We must all change whatever passwords and security information we can," Cua said. "These may be little things, but they help greatly in neutralizing the possible consequences of data breaches."

In the Philippines, it is unfortunate that many organizations do not prioritize computer security strategies.

"Many organizations do not give security strategy the level of importance it requires. When security systems are put in place, the level of security remains the same despite the exponential growth of data being protected. And due to limited budget allocations, security strategy and layers of protection rarely get prioritized," he said.

He said most organizations do not allocate any budget for security upgrades until it is too late.

"Hacktivist" group Anonymous Philippines hacked the official website of the Comelec more than a month before the national and local elections on May 9.

The group defaced the poll body's website and demanded that the agency ensures that the security features of vote-counting machines are installed.

Soon after, another group called LulzSec accessed the Comelec's voter database and posted it publicly online.

It the first major open leak of elections-related data by a hacker group in the Philippines.

"This should be a wake-up call for every organization, big or small. No one can afford to be complacent," Cua said.

Meanwhile, the Manila Prosecutor's Office on Monday ordered the filing of criminal charges against Paul Biteng, the arrested hacker.

A resolution signed by Manila Chief Inquest Prosecutor Joven Senados said a complaint for violation of the Anti-Cybercrime Law was recommended against Biteng.

Source: The Standard