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COMELEC DATABASE HACKED: LEAK ALARMS BANKS; BSP URGES TIGHTER MEASURES


APRIL 24 -Banks and monetary authorities are stepping up security measures after a massive leak from the database of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier this month that exposed more than 55 million Filipinos to fraud and other risks.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. said in a text message on Friday that the Comelec data leak was “a serious concern.”  READ: Website claims to have ‘leaked’ voters’ data  Espenilla said the BSP had ordered banks to be “more alert in establishing the true identity of customers.” “Customer identification procedures of BSP-supervised financial institutions that rely on static information which may be obtained from the disclosed Comelec records should be supplemented by requests for additional proof or secondary information to establish the true identity of new and existing clients,” Espenilla said in a memorandum to banks. The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) advised its member-banks to implement safeguards to protect their clients from abuse of leaked information. “The recent breach in the Commission on Elections database has caused vital information of voters’ personal data, such as address, mother’s maiden name and other information to be made available online,” BAP executive director Cesar Virtusio said in a memo to the group’s member-banks. “Since most banks use these personal information for verification purposes, we strongly encourage . . . [you to] perform the necessary modifications and switch on your security backup systems for your online account recovery protocols and other critical processes that may be affected,” he said. Online security Banks are stepping up online security measures to protect their customers, according to East West Banking Corp. president and chief executive Antonio C. Moncupa Jr. “Online security is a continuing effort. Banks constantly exert efforts to update their security software and protocols. On the other hand, cybercriminals also exert efforts to overcome bank security. So banks redouble efforts in reaction,” Moncupa said. “Banks also are careful that they have competent and trustworthy people to man their IT (information technology) systems,” he added. READ MORE...ALSO, PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Ex-GMA economic managers, Pag-IBIG chief on Binay's future Cabinet... ALSO, VP Binay says he won’t impeach Morales, won’t say if he’ll jail Duterte...

ALSO: ‘Leaked info can’t be used to rig elections’


APRIL 24 -“That’s one of the things we’ve always been sure of because the elections will not be run on the same servers (as the website). We will not even be using that (defaced) website,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said. Philstar.com file 
There is no way voters’ data hacked from the official website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) can be used to rig the coming May 9 elections, poll officials said yesterday.
“That’s one of the things we’ve always been sure of because the elections will not be run on the same servers (as the website). We will not even be using that (defaced) website,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said. Jimenez said the Comelec would print lists of voters with corresponding photographs to ensure quick validation of voters on Election Day. “We will have a personal verification system on Election Day. The Comelec will not come out with polluted lists of voters coming from outside sources,” he added. Last March 27, Comelec’s website www.comelec.gov.ph was defaced twice and voters’ personal details were later found uploaded on various sites, including www.wehaveyourdata.com. The website had allowed Internet users to search voters’ profiles like full name, birth dates and addresses. READ MORE...RELATED, Poll fraud possible after leak — expert...ALSO, PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Miriam on choosing nation’s leader: ‘Hindi puwedeng yung nakaupo sa likod ang magiging presidente’ ... ALSO, PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 No more ‘endo’ in the next administration?... ALSO, PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 What is 'endo' and why do presidential bets want it gone?...

ALSO: FAKE MALACAÑANG SERVER USED IN ‘COMELEAK’: Hackers forged Palace site


APRIL 24 -MALACAÑANG on Saturday said an initial investigation by the information technology department of the Office of the President (OP) indicated that the use of the server “mail.malacañang.gov.ph” appeared to be a “malicious forgery.”
In a radio interview, Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III explained that the Palace mail server could not have been hacked or compromised, but may have been conveniently used as cover for the hacking of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) voter database. Quezon said the OP’s Management Information System (MIS) department, after reviewing its firewall and server logs, determined that there was no “unusual activity” detected from the “mail.malacañang.gov.ph” mail server.This “suggests, at this point, the possibility of a malicious forgery,” Quezon, speaking on state-run Radyo ng Bayan, said. The Malacañang mail server, which handles OP’s incoming and outgoing e-mail messages, was seen as one of the “seeders” of the voter information data uploaded online after the hacking of the Comelec website. Seeders refer to people or entities that are uploading to the Internet files they have already downloaded. Three possibilities Quezon said the MIS team looked into three possibilities in its investigation: if the server was used to download and seed the torrent (peer-to-peer file-sharing systems); if the server was compromised, or if a remote client was using the mail server to access the Internet; if the culprit intentionally forged his host name to appear as “mail.malacañang.gov.ph” with malicious intention. The “mail.malacañang.gov.ph” subdomain has been delegated to a specific mail server under the OP-MIS department since May 2011, Quezon said. Quezon said around 9:55 p.m. on April 21, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa was informed about social media screenshots that showed the OP’s mail server being used to torrent, or seed, the Comelec database. Experts said “Comeleak,” as the leak is now called, was perhaps the biggest government-related data breaches in history, after personal information of more than 55 million registered voters were uploaded online. READ MORE...ALSO, PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 The helpless have been hurt during campaign period – Roxas...ALSO,  

ALSO: NBI warns raps vs netizens with hacked Comelec data; Malacañang disowns ‘seeding’


APRIL 25 -The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) warned yesterday the public against acquiring the personal data of registered voters from the hacked website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), saying they could be criminally liable.
The warning came as netizens raged over what seemed to be Malacañang’s accessing and spreading of the leaked data, which officials later addressed as a possible “malicious forgery”. NBI Director Virgilio Mendez issued the warning last Friday night said he ordered the agency’s Cybercrime Division to go after those who have taken possession of the Comelec data. He said people who either upload or download those files from the Internet may face criminal charges. The Comelec website was defaced last Easter Sunday by members of Anonymous Philippines. One of the alleged hackers, 23-year-old Paul Biteng, was arrested on Wednesday night. NBI said they are now looking for two other hackers. Another group of hackers, however, also illegally accessed the Comelec site and leaked the sensitive personal data of around 55 million voters. The leaked data was then put up on the Internet by another group through a website WeHaveYourData.com that allows the public to search the sensitive information. NBI has taken down the site on Thursday night. NBI has also started dismantling websites which claim to have the leaked Comelec data. ‘MALICIOUS FORGERY?’ As the public panicked over the leak of their data, some netizens have noticed that even Malacañang was supposedly accessing and spreading the leaked data. READ MORE...ALSO, PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Candidates vow support for fisherfolk affected by South China Sea dispute... ALSO, Candidates pull punches in last leg of Pilipinas Debates 2016...

ALSO: Smartmatic expects 100% transmission within a day after polls close on May 9


APRIL 24 -The Commission on Elections' provider of the automated election system expects to transmit all of the election results across the country by May 10 or within a day after the polls.
Smartmatic International Project Manager Marlon Garcia said the AES provider was looking to transmit the results from the 92,509 clustered precincts in 24 hours after the polling closed. “This is not a commitment but my take is that it is going to be around 80 percent transmission just on May 9. By noon of May 10, we should already be almost done,” Garcia said in an interview. Garcia said that sending results could even be faster if not only for the challenge posed by the country's lay of the land. “We know that because of the difficulty in the geography in the Philippines and the availability of the signals in some of the areas, we may not be able to make it on May 9," Garcia said. "The platform actually is to receive everything in the canvassing in one hour. But we know, based on our experience here, is it is going to take a while,” he added. Garcia cited the successful outcome of the Transmission and Readiness Test (TRT) that the poll body conducted on Saturday in Taguig City; Pateros; Quezon City (1st District); Manila City (5th District); Digos City and Bansalan in Davao Del Sur; Iriga City and Buhi in Camarines Sur; and Alburquerque and Cortes in Bohol. READ MORE...ALSO, PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 How presidential bets will push for peace in Mindanao, note Santiago's plan...  ALSO, 'HOW ARE YOU TODAY?' Miriam gets kind treatment from Duterte during face-off ...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Leak alarms banks; BSP urges tighter measures

MANILA, APRIL 25, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Ben O. de Vera and Doris Dumlao-Abadilla @inquirerdotnet - Banks and monetary authorities are stepping up security measures after a massive leak from the database of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier this month that exposed more than 55 million Filipinos to fraud and other risks.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Nestor A. Espenilla Jr. said in a text message on Friday that the Comelec data leak was “a serious concern.”

READ: Website claims to have ‘leaked’ voters’ data

Espenilla said the BSP had ordered banks to be “more alert in establishing the true identity of customers.”

“Customer identification procedures of BSP-supervised financial institutions that rely on static information which may be obtained from the disclosed Comelec records should be supplemented by requests for additional proof or secondary information to establish the true identity of new and existing clients,” Espenilla said in a memorandum to banks.

The Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) advised its member-banks to implement safeguards to protect their clients from abuse of leaked information.

“The recent breach in the Commission on Elections database has caused vital information of voters’ personal data, such as address, mother’s maiden name and other information to be made available online,” BAP executive director Cesar Virtusio said in a memo to the group’s member-banks.

“Since most banks use these personal information for verification purposes, we strongly encourage . . . [you to] perform the necessary modifications and switch on your security backup systems for your online account recovery protocols and other critical processes that may be affected,” he said.

Online security

Banks are stepping up online security measures to protect their customers, according to East West Banking Corp. president and chief executive Antonio C. Moncupa Jr.

“Online security is a continuing effort. Banks constantly exert efforts to update their security software and protocols. On the other hand, cybercriminals also exert efforts to overcome bank security. So banks redouble efforts in reaction,” Moncupa said.

“Banks also are careful that they have competent and trustworthy people to man their IT (information technology) systems,” he added.

READ MORE...

But customers should take precaution, he said.

“Ensure passwords are kept well. Be careful not to open e-mail from unknown senders, keep credit card [details] always safe, and be careful when giving information on Web purchases. And please cooperate with your bank when they update and do adjustments to improve online security and customer identification verification processes,” Moncupa said.

Identity validation

Banco de Oro (BDO) Unibank president Nestor Tan said BDO would change its customer identity validation system.

“We have to change the way we validate customer identity. In fact, early this morning, there was a group that met to address that,” Tan said.

But Tan declined to say what changes BDO would make, saying “some of these security processes are probably better left unknown to potential fraudsters.”

He said, however, that BDO was looking at the possibility of adding biometrics to its customer identification process.

Security Bank president Alfonso Salcedo advised the bank’s clients to change their passwords immediately.

“And don’t use info [that was already] compromised, such as your mother’s maiden name,” Salcedo said.

Tips from China Bank

The IT security office of China Banking Corp. gave the following tips:

Keep personal information off social media.

Always think before you post anything on social media, as you might provide other indirect sensitive information about you, such as location and accessibility.

Enable or subscribe to text and e-mail notifications and alerts of your financial services institution.

Always monitor the activity of your online accounts.

Do not use the same password for online banking and nonbanking accounts.

Do not surf the Web while accessing online banking accounts.

Ensure that only your online banking site is open.

Install antivirus and firewall on your computer and keep all your software up to date.

Use a strong password and change it regularly.

Do not do sensitive transactions via public networks/Wi-Fi.

Credit cards

The Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP) also urged card users to take extra precaution.

“[The] CCAP reminds the public to be vigilant in protecting their personal and credit card information and details,” the group said in a statement.

“Be wary of providing your personal or credit card information to third parties. In case of doubt, please call your credit card company,” it said.

The CCAP said it member-banks had “strong controls in place to prevent fraud via misuse of personal information.”

RELATED STORY

BSP orders banks to strengthen ‘know-your-customer’ practices

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS

PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Ex-GMA economic managers, Pag-IBIG chief on Binay's future Cabinet Published April 24, 2016 11:50pm By VIRGIL LOPEZ, GMA News

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday gave a glimpse of his future official family should he win in next month's presidential election.

During the 'fast talk' portion of the Pilipinas Debates 2016 held Sunday night at the University of Pangasinan in Dagupan City, Binay named three possible appointees to his official family, which includes two former members of the Cabinet of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

He said he would probably appoint former finance secretary Margarito "Gary" Teves to his former post. He also named former trade secretary Peter Favila as a possible shoo-in to his Cabinet.

Both Teves and Favila served in the Arroyo administration, whose vocal critics included Binay.

Teves, a former congressman, was named finance secretary while Favila got the trade portfolio after the mass resignation of Arroyo's Cabinet officials following the 'Hello Garci' scandal in July 2005.

The vice president cited competence in choosing the three individuals to form part of his Cabinet.

Lawyer Darlene Berberabe, the current president and chief executive officer of the Home Development and Mutual (Pag-IBIG) Fund, is also being eyed to hold the education portfolio.

Binay initially announced his plan for Berberabe in a campaign sortie in La Union.

Berberabe was appointed to her present post when Binay was head of the Aquino Cabinet's housing cluster. Binay -- while belonging to the opposition -- was included in the Aquino Cabinet and resigned a few months before the October 2015 filing of certificates of candidacy.

Binay once eyed Berberabe as his vice presidential running mate. — APG, GMA News

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ALSO FROM GAM NEWS

VP Binay says he won’t impeach Morales, won’t say if he’ll jail Duterte Published April 25, 2016 12:33am By VIRGIL LOPEZ, GMA News

Vice President Jejomar Binay said Sunday he would not cause the impeachment of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales who indicted him for graft and corruption over the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.

"No, dahil kasi gusto kong makilala ako na healing and unifying president," the vice president said during the fast talk segment of the final presidential debate in Pangasinan.

The Ombudsman earlier claimed Binay's camp threatened to run after her should he win the presidency on May 9, an allegation his party, the United Nationalist Alliance, denied.

Binay though included Morales in a P200-million damage suit for allegedly prejudging the cases filed against him.

Morales, a retired Supreme Court justice, will end her stint at the anti-graft body in 2018.

Binay was also asked during the segment if would send his rival Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to jail.

The vice president did not give a categorical answer.

"Ako po mismo ay wala akong pakialam diyan. Hindi naman ako magpapakulong," Binay said.

Nearly two weeks ago, the vice president vowed to create an independent commission which would look into Duterte's involvement in summary executions being perpetrated by the Davao Death Squad.

Binay said that the independent commission would be composed of former Supreme Court justices, human rights groups, the National Press Club, and the Commission on Human Rights. —NB, GMA News


PHILSTAR

‘Leaked info can’t be used to rig elections’ By Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 24, 2016 - 12:00am 38 5 googleplus0 0


“That’s one of the things we’ve always been sure of because the elections will not be run on the same servers (as the website). We will not even be using that (defaced) website,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said. Philstar.com file

MANILA, Philippines – There is no way voters’ data hacked from the official website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) can be used to rig the coming May 9 elections, poll officials said yesterday.

“That’s one of the things we’ve always been sure of because the elections will not be run on the same servers (as the website). We will not even be using that (defaced) website,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.

Jimenez said the Comelec would print lists of voters with corresponding photographs to ensure quick validation of voters on Election Day.

“We will have a personal verification system on Election Day. The Comelec will not come out with polluted lists of voters coming from outside sources,” he added.

Last March 27, Comelec’s website www.comelec.gov.ph was defaced twice and voters’ personal details were later found uploaded on various sites, including www.wehaveyourdata.com.

The website had allowed Internet users to search voters’ profiles like full name, birth dates and addresses.

READ MORE...

In some cases, passport details and even biometrics data were reportedly exposed.

According to Jimenez, the Comelec’s Information Technology Department (ITD) is still verifying the accuracy of the leaked data.

“We never denied that the breach happened. What we are saying is we hadn’t yet at that time verified 100 percent whether the breach was completely accurate,” he clarified.

Jimenez said the Comelec database is undergoing forensic examination to determine how the hackers penetrated the system.

“We want to make sure our future steps are better suited to protect us against that kind of attack. The Comelec does not want it to happen again. It’s not true our website was not protected,” he stressed.

“No one in this day and age would put up a website without some sort of protection, but we have to remember that the hacking attempts were continuous attempts over time,” he pointed out.

The hacking story first got public attention after the emergence of a user-friendly website that allowed Internet users to search for their personal information.

Owners of the website, http://wehaveyourdata.com , said they used the database dump of the LulzSec Pilipinas containing information on 70 million voters.

“The database contains a lot of sensitive information, including fingerprint data and passport information. So, we thought that it would be fun to make a search engine over that data,” they said.


ALLEGED  HACKER

Meralco, through spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga, also clarified the alleged hacker Paul Biteng is not a son of an employee. “Based on our records, we do not have an employee surnamed Biteng,” he said.

‘Genie out of the bottle’

But for cyber security experts, the data leaked can never be contained and will forever be in the public domain.

“Once this information is out, it’s impossible to recover. It’s not like 55 million Filipinos can change their fingerprints,” Bryce Boland, Asia-Pacific chief technical officer of cyber security firm Fire Eye, told Bloomberg.

“I think it’s very serious. We’re talking about the personal details of about 55 million Filipinos. And it’s not just names and address – their email address, their passport information, their height, their weight, their parents’ names, even their fingerprint details. This is very significant,” he added.

Boland noted the leak, now called Comeleak, is one of the largest data breaches of government information in the world.

“The problem here is that it creates a lot of opportunities for malicious attacks, and we can see (possible) fraud attacks,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time before some criminal groups work out that they can use these information to get access to that.”

Web security expert Troy Hunt – founder of website “have I been pwnd?” – also said the leaked personal information is now perpetually in the public domain.

“There’s the potential to do serious damage to those involved and we need to remember that the same classes of data are held by all our governments in our respective corners of the world,” he wrote in a blog post.

Despite the removal of the original website, Hunt said the original database is still being shared online.

“Not only has it been readily available for download from multiple locations on the clear web, it’s been quite extensively torrented too,” he added.

“The genie is well and truly out of the bottle and it won’t be going back in,” he added.

Hunt also debunked Comelec’s claims that no sensitive information was compromised.

“This is a very large amount of data and reading through those column names, clearly many of them would be considered sensitive, personally identifiable data,” wrote Hunt.

Software security company Trend Micro has also warned about the sensitive personal information included in the leaked data.

“Based on our investigation, the data dumps include 1.3 million records of overseas Filipino voters, which included passport numbers and expiry dates. What is alarming is that this crucial data is just in plain text and accessible to everyone,” said the security firm. “Interestingly, we also found a whopping 15.8 million record of fingerprints and list of people running for office since the 2010 elections,” it added.

Clarification sought


COLOMA

Speaking over radio dzRB, Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said Comelec should clarify the extent of the hacking of its database as Malacañang has its own investigation into reports that its server, mail.malacañang.gov.ph, also downloaded information coming from the poll body’s site.

Quezon also urged the public to take necessary precautions to protect their accounts.

“Having said that, what’s good here, in a sense, is that the IT community – and so many Filipinos are good at this – have all been coming together and been issuing advisories that are common sense for us all to follow,” he said.

He said Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. was immediately informed on the night of April 21 about social media screenshots that purportedly showed the Office of the President’s mail server being used to torrent and seed the Comelec data.

Torrents are “peer-to-peer” file sharing systems that allow users to download files from the computers of other users on the same system.

“Now, as of (Friday) morning, there continue to be screenshots that the torrent was still being downloaded or seeded using the address. So what is being done? An investigation is being conducted by the Office of the President-MIS (Management Information Service) department,” the Palace official said.

He said the subdomain mail.malacañang.gov.ph has been delegated to a specific mail server under the OP-MIS department since May of 2011.

“Now, they are currently reviewing their firewall and server logs, for any activity that would determine if one... the server was used to download and seed the torrent; or two, if the server was compromised or if a remote client was using the mail server to access the Internet; or three, if the culprit intentionally forged his host name to appear as with malicious intention,” Quezon said.

Meanwhile, Comelec said no significant problem was detected in its end-to-end transmission tests for 34 polling precincts across the country, except for two ballots that got swapped.

Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim told reporters it was discovered that the ballots intended for Kapatagan in Digos City, Davao del Sur went to Pateros and vice versa.

To address the situation, he noted they had the 50 ballots for Pateros reprinted at the National Printing Office in Quezon City.

In Digos City, the Pateros ballots were pulled out at around 10 a.m. and delivered to Davao.

Lim said the incident is unlikely to be repeated on Election Day since there is an inventory system for the official ballots.

“They are properly labeled,” said Lim, who also heads the Comelec Steering Committee for the 2016 Elections.

Karen Jimeno, head of Smarmatic’s Voter Education Committee, said SIM cards from three telecommunication companies and BGAN satellite devices were used to transmit the results. – With Janvic Mateo, Aurea Calica

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RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Poll fraud possible after leak — expert Written by Tribune Wires Sunday, 24 April 2016 00:00

MALACAÑANG IMPLICATED IN DATA THEFT

The recent breach of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) database or which is now being termed as Comeleak can still be exploited by hackers to manipulate the results of the elections next month, a Singapore-based information technology expert said.

Bryce Boland, chief technology officer of publicly listed US network security company FireEye, raised the possibility that the hackers have left a backdoor during the March 27 breach for them to use during the counting of votes after the May 9 elections.

Boland, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, said the massive breach, which was described as the biggest ever on a government system, should be extensively investigated.

Malacañang has been implicated in the extraction of the Comelec database after social media posts showed that the web address of the Office of the President was downloading the date through the torrent system.

“What needs to happen is a thorough investigation to understand what else did the attackers do when they broke in and stole those data,” Boland said.

“Did they leave backdoors to give them access and come back in later and potentially move laterally within the Comelec network to potentially change the outcome of the vote in a few weeks time?”, Boland said

The personal information of more than 54.3 million Filipino voters has been exposed in a breach of the Comelec database last March 27, Easter Sunday.

After the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) revealed the arrest of a 23-year old information technology (IT) graduate over the Comelec hacking incident, a website, wehaveyourdata.com, appeared which revealed all the voters’ information hacked from the Comelec database.

The release of the data, that included fingerprints and addresses of voters, sent alarms over the possibility of these being used for poll fraud and the commission of cybercrimes such as extortion and hacking of financial accounts.

On the website, where the URL link first appeared on social media, users need only to fill in their names to sift through the database.

If there is a hit, they could possibly see personal details such as their address, birthday, passport details, parents name, and possibly in some cases, their biometrics data.

The Comelec website was hacked and defaced by the group Anonymous Philippines, with another hack group calling itself Lulzsec Pilipinas announcing that it had obtained the Comelec database on the same day.

A week later, Japanese security vendor Trend Micro expressed concerns about the data dump saying the trove of sensitive personal data from the Comelec database now out in the open leave every registered voter susceptible to identity theft and fraud.

Boland noted that personal details of 54.3 million Filipinos that included not only their names and addresses but their email addresses, passport information, their height, their weight even their parents’ names, were extracted from the Comelec database.



“This is very significant not only because by far it is the largest data breach of government information,” he said.

He said these information was not just stolen by a single national intelligence agency but were left “out there in the Internet for anyone to access.”
Malacanang hand in hacking?

The possible involvement of Malacañang or the Office of the President was raised in social media after monitoring of the extraction of the breached Comelec data was traced to a Malacañang web address.

Palace Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III issued a statement saying in gist that the social media screenshots of the extraction of the hacked Comelec data was forged.

According to the Management Information Service (MIS) of the Office of the President, “no unusual activity has been detected, which suggests the possibility of a malicious forgery,” he said.

He added that an investigation is being conducted by the MIS, which is currently reviewing their firewall and server logs of any activity that would determine if: the server was used to download and seed the torrent, or the server was compromised or if a remote client was using the mail server to access the internet.

Also being probed is if the “culprit intentionally forged his hostname to appear as mail.malacanang.gov.ph with malicious intention, Quezon claimed.

“Now, in terms of accountability. It will be the Executive Secretary to determine the accountability if proven that someone indeed used the mail server to download the Comelec data,” he said.

“And as far as prevention is concerned, as Secretary Coloma said in his briefing yesterday: ‘This matter is being looked into as part of continuing efforts to improve IT security protocols,’” he added.

The ongoing investigation is still not conclusive and they are waiting for the final report of the OP-MIS, he said.

FireEye’s Boland added that the problem with the Comelec breach is that it created “a lot of opportunities for malicious attacks, and we can see fraud attacks or use that for social engineering to gain access to high-profiled people and very important organizations.”

Boland said it would just be a matter of time before some criminal groups find a way to “use these information to gain access to bank and financial accounts details.

“Often we find there are people trading these information on underground sites where you can collect information on bank account details, card information and now information on voters data for a very comprehensive portfolio of information,” he said.

“I think the elections commission (Comelec) has to take some of the blame, what we see in the Philippines and quite broadly across Asia is a very low level of cybersecurity,” he added.

“Many organizations simply do not have the defences to even detect or prevent this from actually happening,” he said.

“Its fairly common for us to see this kind of breaches. In the Philippines, the likelihood of a targetted attack on these kind of data is twice as high we see globally,” Boland said.

“There’s a lot of data that has been made public which could be potentially used (for vote rigging),” he said.

Boland said the leaked data can never be recovered. “It’s impossible to recover, there’s no way that 54.3 million Filipinos can change their fingerprints. These data can never be recovered and this is a fundamental problem that we are facing not only in the Philippines but everywhere,” he said.

He added that government organizations are not doing enough to protect their citizens’ data.

Comelec says regrets


COMELEC CHAIR BAUTISTA

The Comelec said it felt sorry over the leakage of the voter information.

“I apologize for this continuing attack on your privacy and assure the public that the Comelec is doing everything we can to resolve this matter at the soonest possible time,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a statement.

Last Thursday a website, titled “Philippines, we have your data” with the data allegedly copied from them appeared on the Internet which contained all the data downloaded from the Comelec system.

The supposed hacking incident comes after the poll body’s website was defaced almost a month ago.

In the said website https://wehaveyourdata.com/, the hackers claimed that the database contains a lot of sensitive information of voters supposedly sourced from the Comelec when LulzSec Pilipinas recently hacked the Comelec website.

“The database contains a lot of sensitive information, including fingerprint data and passport information. So, we thought that it would be fun to make a search engine over that data,” they said.

The hackers added that the publication of the leaked data in a public website aims to make the government realize the importance of the security of citizens’ personal data.

In the said webpage, the users are simply asked to type their full name before clicking on the search button, which would then enable one to view personal information such as birthday, precinct number, civil status, resident barangay, and fingerprint codes, among others.

Jimenez said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cyber Crimes Division is still looking into the said website and its supposed voter information contents.

“The Comelec has not yet verified the accuracy of the data the hackers claim to have copied and the investigation is ongoing,” he added.

With this, the poll body official advised the public not to make use of the said website or else risk further damage.

“In the meantime, we advise the public not to use the hacker website as it can be used by the hackers to steal your information and thus expose you even further to the dangers of identity theft,” Jimenez said.

The hacking of the voters database, which triggered a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BAP) warning to banks to protect their customers from identity theft, is “the wake-up call” which should scramble the government to create the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

The call was made by Senator Ralph Recto, principal sponsor of the Congress-approved bill creating the DICT, who said “there is no designated guard of the country’s ICT infrastructure in the government at present.”

“It’s not the DOTC, despite “Communications” being there. It can’t even monitor the buses on our roads, how much more oversee the information highway? It’s not the DOST, even if the low-key Information and Communication Technology Office (ICTO) is under it,” Recto said.

Despite growing information and communications technology (ICT) use in the country and the BPO industry among the top three export earners, “there’s no department overseeing this sector even if every business group has been calling for the creation of one,” Recto said.


RECTO

“What we have is a Balkanized system. Personnel investigating cybercrimes are so few and, worse, dispersed among government offices despite the increasing volume of transactions in all kinds of commerce being done online,” Recto said.

He cited the case of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG), which has a personnel complement of 110, “and this in a country where 70 million have social media presence.”

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), he said, is another “frontline office” which needs more “ICT investigators and equipment to flag cybercrimes and tag those behind them.”

The DICT law, Recto explained, mandates the creation of a “Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center.”

The DICT will also be tasked to formulate the “National Cybersecurity Plan” and form the “National Computer Emergency Response Team,” which, Recto said, will serve as “our IT Special Action Forces.”

Because “firewalling the country” from cyberattacks requires help from other countries, “work on international cooperation on intelligence regarding cybersecurity” will be done by the DICT, Recto explained.

Saying that the DICT should be part of the national security plan, Recto said “we now live in an era when terrorists don’t have to blast bank doors to do mayhem; but simply unleash a virus that could shred or suck out financial data.

“An enemy with a missile is as dangerous as one with malware,” he said. “Countries we are not so friendly with may target us and criminals will always want to hack their way to our financial system,” Recto said.

He said the hack-attack on Bangladesh Bank shows that the threat is real and countermeasures against cybercrimes urgent.

“The poor man’s ATM is vulnerable to hacking too. There are identity thefts victimizing ordinary people,” Recto said, citing “2014-2015 Cybercrime Report” prepared by the Department of Justice (DOJ) which ranked the Philippines 39th among countries with Internet threat activities.

The PNP-ACG recorded an increase of 113% in cybercrime statistics from 288 incidents in 2013 to 614 incidents in 2014.

According to the senator, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported 2,872 cases of ATM fraud during that period.

The growing menace of cybercrime, “and the jobs that the ICT sector can bring,” Recto said, should prod congressional and executive leaders to work for the immediate enactment of the DICT bill and thereafter implement it without delay.

“Ito na ang tamang panahon,” he said.

Both houses of Congress passed their own version of the DICT bill last year, with minor differences. To avoid convening a bicameral conference, the Senate, before it adjourned for the campaign season last month, conveyed to the House its decision to accept the House version.

Recto said that to gain Malacañang support, the DICT bill Congress had approved provides for a lean bureaucracy with a small but smart workforce.
Despite its “small budget footprint”, the proposed DICT will be a “powerful main server” which would spur ICT development, institutionalize e-government, and manage the country’s ICT environment,” Recto said.

“ICT is also the third biggest source of dollars after electronics and OFW remittances. It is a growth driver. Every 10 percentage points increase in broadband penetration is said to boost the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1 percent,” he said.

Among the powers and functions of the DICT is the “identification and prioritization of all e-government systems and applications.”

The DICT will also formulate policies and initiatives to develop and promote ICT in education and promote consumer rights to reliable broadband service.

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Miriam on choosing nation’s leader: ‘Hindi puwedeng yung nakaupo sa likod ang magiging presidente’ Published April 25, 2016 12:07am By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Sunday reminded the Filipino people to give their choice of president some real thought.

In her closing statement at Sunday night's Pilipinas Debates 2016 at the University of Pangasinan in Dagupan City, she said choosing who to vote for president in next month's elections should not be done on a whim.

“Kaya pag-isipan n’yo nang mabuti itong ginagawa natin. Nagpipili tayo ng ating lider sa loob ng susunod na anim na taon. Hindi tayo pwede mamili sa base lang ng kursunada, o dahil uso doon sa mga gang ninyo o sa mga tribes ninyo sa eskwela,” she said.

“We are not looking for an ordinary leader or an ordinary manager or administrator. We are looking for the President of the Philippines. I think the first qualification should be international stature. That would be a great help to Philippine foreign and domestic policy,” she said.

Santiago then proceeded to detail the three qualifications she believed necessary to become president.

She said the first is academic excellence.

“Ako, meron akong doctorate of juridical science from America. Tsaka valedictorian ako ng lahat ng klase ko. Hindi naman puwede na iyong maupo sa likod, iyon ang magiging presidente ng Pilipinas,” she said.

Santiago earned a Doctor of Juridical Science (Barbour Scholar and DeWitt Fellow) degree from the University of Michigan with an “A” average grade in 1976.

Second is professional excellence, Santiago said.

“Binigyan ako ng prestigious Magsaysay Award for government service ‘for bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a corrupt government agency’. Meron ba silang ganoon?” she said.

The award, which is considered as the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, was given to her in 1988.

And finally, the president should have moral excellence, according to Santiago.

“Maliban diyan sa dalawang excellence na iyon, meron pang moral excellence, which is the most important. Unfortunately, there is no machine that you can attach to a human being so that you can tell whether the person is honest or not. Maaaring bolero lang. Maaaring magaan ang bibig. Maaaring kung anu-anong sinasabi basta kung ano ang dumating sa isipan niya,” she said.

In the Pulse Asia presidential survey released hours before the debate, Santiago only received three percent while tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte led the poll with 34 percent. — APG, GMA News

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 No more ‘endo’ in the next administration? Published April 25, 2016 12:15am By ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO, GMA News

All five presidential candidates on Sunday promised to stop "endo" if they win in the May 2016 elections.

During the last leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016 on Sunday in Pangasinan province, the candidates were asked what they will do to remove contractualization in the Philippines.

"Endo" comes at the fifth month of employment. The employees are terminated before they reach the six-month probationary period.

The presidential candidates pointed out that such terms of employment is wrong, some of them promising to immediately scrap it once they get elected.

"The moment I assume the presidency, contractualization will stop. They have to stop it," Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said. "That is an injustice committed against the people of the Republic of the Philippines. I will not allow that as president of this country."

He added at the 30-second follow-up period of the debate that he will call on Congress leaders and the majority to pass a bill to stop contractualization on "[the] first week of my administration."

According to Duterte, such working condition hinders young people from acquiring expertise needed to get better job opportunities because they do not get enough time to gain experience.

"That has to stop kasi ang mga workers natin cannot acquire skills that they learned from TESDA (the government's Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) kasi 'yung electrician, paalisin siya, maghahanap siya ng iba[ng trabaho], carpenter... Even if you go abroad, it says three years experience. The young people cannot ever, ever acquire the experience and the enterprise to really be an electrician kasi doon siya magtrabaho, kargador, 'yung iba boy lang siya, 'yung iba kundoktor, 'yung iba wala talagang trabaho," he said.

Sen. Grace Poe also vowed to end contractualization, which she said prevents people from planning ahead because of the uncertainty in their work status.

She proposed giving "incentives" to business owners by lowering corporate income tax, as many companies may fear lower revenues if they would provide permanent positions for their employees.

"Importanteng bigyan rin natin ng suporta ang mga magbibigay ng negosyo sa ating bansa, pero ang prayoridad natin ang pinakamahirap nating kababayan, so bawian lang: Alagaan n'yo sila, hindi namin kayo iipitin," Poe said.

Infrastructure

Former Interior secretary Mar Roxas also promised to end contractualization, promising to scrap it within three months if he is elected by enacting a law that would correct the "loopholes" that hold back the government from stopping "endo," short for end of contract.

The administration bet also pointed out that more "quality, permanent jobs" must be created.

He said: "Ito ang ating plano: pabababain ang singil ng kuryente dahil dadami ang supply, mas darami ang mga pabrika na papasok dito. Dadagdagan natin ang insentiba sa mga economic zones, para mas rumami ang eco-zones, mas rumami ang pabrika na maglo-locate dito. Dadamihan rin natin mga inprastructura sa mga transport modes na ito para mas madali makapasok-labas ng mga produkto dito."

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago also said the government must pay attention to infrastructure to address the need for jobs.

"Gagawa tayo ng maraming infrastructure—roads, bridges, sea ports, airports, urban transit system. Kapag binuksan natin 'yung mga proyekto na 'yun, milyon-milyon na trabaho ang mabubuksan," she said.

She added that the same must apply to agriculture, with building farm-to-market raods, irrigation, water impounding facilities, post-harvest facilities, and others.

"Kung gumawa ka ng trabaho, lalapit ang tao sa iyo. Hindi gaya ngayon na milyunmilyon ang ating graduates, wala silang pupuntahan kasi wala namang binubuksang pinto ang ating gobyerno. 'Yun ang dapat nating gawin para ang milyunmilyong mga graduates ma-absorb kaagad," she said.

Santiago then categorically said that she was "vehemently against contractualization," saying it is "illegal [and] possibly unconstitutional."

Income tax cut?

Vice President Jejomar Binay said, "'Yang 'endo,' bawal nga 'yan, ang masama nga lang hindi pinatutupad." However, he said that "endo" workers should assert their rights.

The debate's host, ABS-CBN, invited during the debate an engineering graduate who has been forced to become an "endo" worker.

"Hindi lang maliwanag sa akin ang problema mo kasi merong sinasabing job only. Job only, bawal yon sa simula't simula. Ngayon, ang narinig ko sa'yo, engineer ka. Kung ikaw ay kinuha as an engineer at kung iyong trabaho na yon ay kasama sa korporasyon na pinasukan mo, bawal 'yung ginawa sayo. Hindi ka na dapat tanggalin pagdating ng limang buwan kasi pagpasok na pagpasok mo pa lang permanente ka na. Sana naghabla ka," he said.

For his follow-up answer, Binay added that under his term, he would take away income tax.

"So kumbaga kung ang sweldo mo sampung libo, at kahit na papaano wala ka nang babayarang income tax, 'yun ang magagamit mo habang ikaw ay naghahanap ng panibagong trabaho," he said.

Roxas then commented: "Hindi ko maatim na pinag-uusapan ang pagbaba ng buwis. Wala naman nang binabayarang buwis dahil minimum wage earner siya. Wala na siyang binabayaran dahil sa batas na isinabatas ko noong ipinadala n'yo ako sa Senado, up to P100,000 of exemptions ang tax-free."

Santiago, meanwhile, said she was in favor of lowering both income and corporate taxes. —ALG, GMA News

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 What is 'endo' and why do presidential bets want it gone? Published April 24, 2016 11:15pm

Presidential candidates during the last leg of the Pilipinas Debates on Sunday vowed to end the practice of "endo" that has been affecting the country's contractual employees for so many years.

But what is endo?

"Endo is the illegal practice of terminating a worker before he reaches six months of employment in order to avoid regularization and the benefits that go with it," said Julius Cainglet, vice president of the Federation of Free Workers.

Cainglet said that under Article 281 of the Labor Code, "an employee who is allowed to work after a probationary period shall be considered a regular employee."

The same law provides that an employee's probationary employment shall not exceed six months from the date the employee started working, unless it is covered by an apprenticeship agreement stipulating a longer period.

Senator Grace Poe first used the term during the debate to address the issue.

"Ang endo ay hindi makatarungan. Alam mo kung bakit? Kasi hindi mo maipaplano ang iyong kinabukasan kung hindi mo alam kung may trabaho ka pa. Kaya naiintindihan ko yon," Poe said.

"At bilang isang nanay na gumagawa ng budget para sa pamilya, ang hirap namang isipin na pagkatapos ng limang buwan walang trabaho yung asawa ko. Kaya kakampi mo ako, hindi ko papayagan ang endo," she added.

Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas promised to end the practice within three months.

"Ang tanong ay papaano natin tatapusin ang endo. Makakaasa ka na sa loob ng tatlong buwan matapos ang pag-upo ko bilang pangulo, matatapos ang ENDO," Roxas said. —NB/JST, GMA News


INQUIRER

FAKE MALACAÑANG SERVER USED IN ‘COMELEAK’: Hackers forged Palace site SHARES: 68 VIEW COMMENTS
By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:46 AM April 24th, 2016



MALACAÑANG on Saturday said an initial investigation by the information technology department of the Office of the President (OP) indicated that the use of the server “mail.malacañang.gov.ph” appeared to be a “malicious forgery.”

In a radio interview, Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III explained that the Palace mail server could not have been hacked or compromised, but may have been conveniently used as cover for the hacking of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) voter database.

Quezon said the OP’s Management Information System (MIS) department, after reviewing its firewall and server logs, determined that there was no “unusual activity” detected from the “mail.malacañang.gov.ph” mail server.

This “suggests, at this point, the possibility of a malicious forgery,” Quezon, speaking on state-run Radyo ng Bayan, said.

The Malacañang mail server, which handles OP’s incoming and outgoing e-mail messages, was seen as one of the “seeders” of the voter information data uploaded online after the hacking of the Comelec website.

Seeders refer to people or entities that are uploading to the Internet files they have already downloaded.

Three possibilities

Quezon said the MIS team looked into three possibilities in its investigation: if the server was used to download and seed the torrent (peer-to-peer file-sharing systems); if the server was compromised, or if a remote client was using the mail server to access the Internet; if the culprit intentionally forged his host name to appear as “mail.malacañang.gov.ph” with malicious intention.

The “mail.malacañang.gov.ph” subdomain has been delegated to a specific mail server under the OP-MIS department since May 2011, Quezon said.

Quezon said around 9:55 p.m. on April 21, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa was informed about social media screenshots that showed the OP’s mail server being used to torrent, or seed, the Comelec database.

Experts said “Comeleak,” as the leak is now called, was perhaps the biggest government-related data breaches in history, after personal information of more than 55 million registered voters were uploaded online.

READ MORE...

On Friday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. emphasized that the “cyberattack” had not affected the integrity of the automated election system.

READ: Consumer groups want blood over ‘Comeleak’

Downloading going on

“Now, as of yesterday (Saturday) morning, there continued to be screenshots that the torrent was still being downloaded or seeded using the address. So what is being done? An investigation,” Quezon said.

He said the OP-MIS had yet to submit an investigation report.

Quezon said the Office of the Executive Secretary would determine the accountability “if proven that someone indeed used the mail server to download the Comelec data.”

A hacker group defaced the Comelec’s website last month, and on April 6 a second hacker group posted the entire database online, with mirror links where the data would also be downloaded, according to Internet security company Trend Micro.

LOOK: Comelec website hacked

The Tokyo-based company said leaked were personal details of more than 55 million registered voters, including names, birthdays, home addresses e-mail, parents’ full names and in some cases passport details and text markers of fingerprints.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the leaked data that were uploaded online were not fingerprints but text markers that cannot recreate the fingerprints.

He said the integrity of national elections on May 9 would not be affected, as the automated balloting would be run on a different server, not on the one that was hacked. With a report from AP

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 The helpless have been hurt during campaign period – Roxas Published April 25, 2016 12:47am By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

With the campaign period coming into the final stretch, administration presidential candidate Mar Roxas took a moment to look back at the last two months during the third and final PiliPinas Debates 2016 on Sunday at the PHINMA University of Pangasinan in Dagupan City.

Roxas in his closing speech pointed out that too many sectors were hurt during the campaign period.

“Patapos na ang kampanya. Panghuling debate na ito. The campaign is winding down. It has been vicious and divisive. Maraming mga nasaktan, kababaihan, LGBT, people with disabilities, senior citizens—madalas ang mga pinakawalang kalaban-laban,” he explained.

The statement seemed to be aimed at Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who has become globally infamous for his controversial remarks during the campaign period.

Duterte, during an April 12 rally in Quezon City, seemed to say that he should have been the first person to rape an Australian missionary who was killed in a Davao City prison riot in 1989.

He also called Roxas “bayot” or gay numerous times, often characterizing the Liberal Party bet as a weakling.

Duterte also made disabled seniors the butt of his joke during a rally in Kalibo, Aklan on April 20.

“But this is not who we are as a people," Roxas meanwhile argued. "We are a generous people. We are warm. We are loving. Mapagbigay tayo. Ang magulang, isusubo na lang, ibibigay pa sa anak. We do it because we want our children to have more and they deserve more.”

He also warned of candidates who would use the nation's frustrations just to lure the electorate to pick them.

“Ang iba gagamitin ang ating frustration para lokohin tayo, para makalimutan natin na malayo na ang narating natin, para makalimutan natin kung sino tayo bilang Pilipino, para makalimutan natin na ang tunay at makabuluhang pagbabago, hindi nakakamit sa paninisi, sa pang-iinsulto, o sa pang-soundbite lamang,” he said.

His rivals often speak against the establishment, pointing out the failures of the government. But Roxas went back to the core of his campaign: to continue and improve what the government had started.

“Nangyayari ito dahil tinatrabaho, and this is what the elections have come down to—the talkers versus the doers; those that bring out the worst in us versus those that bring out the best in us; those ‘yung mga susunugin lahat ng pinaghirapan natin, kontra doon sa mga magdidilig at magbabantay sa mga itinanim natin,” he said. — DVM, GMA News -

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Roxas open to 'clean' coal plants, more mining if he becomes president Published April 24, 2016 11:07pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said he is open to more coal plants and more mining firms operating in the country if elected president, as long as these are done in a responsible manner.

During the third and final leg of the Commission on Elections-sponsored Pilipinas Debates 2016 held in Dagupan City in Pangasinan on Sunday, Roxas said that coal-fired power plants can be a viable solution in addressing the country's limited energy supply.

“Yung maduming coal at maduming carbon masama. Pero may mga coal plants sa Finland, sa Germany sa Sweden na sa gitna ng lungsod pinapaandar dahil ito'y tinatawag na clean coal,” Roxas said.

Asked if he would continue the construction of about 23 more coal-fired power plants if elected as president, Roxas did not give a categorical answer but said: “Kasabay nun ay isusulong nating yung natural gas para manatiling 50-50 yung ating energy balance between clean which is coal and oil at saka sa natural gas, which is renewable at geothermal”.

A total of 23 coal-fired plants are set to open by 2020 after they were approved by President Benigno Aquino III.

Last January, Aquino inaugurated a 300 megaWatt coal power plant in Davao. The inauguration took place just a month after 195 countries including the Philippines signed the United Nations' 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) wherein the signatories promised to reduce their greenhouse gas emission by 70 percent by 2030.

Meanwhile, Roxas also said he is also open to allowing more mining companies to operate in the country as long as they comply with the environmental laws.

“May batas e. We are all aspiring to become president of the Philippines. Number one is to execute the laws of the land. Pero itong mga batas na ito ay dapat tumalima sa ating mga patakaran which is local acceptance at environmental compliance,” Roxas said. —JST, GMA News


MANILA BULLETIN

NBI warns raps vs netizens with hacked Comelec data; Malacañang disowns ‘seeding’ April 24, 2016 Share60 Tweet0 Share0 Email0 Share94 By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos and Madel Sabater – Namit

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) warned yesterday the public against acquiring the personal data of registered voters from the hacked website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), saying they could be criminally liable.

The warning came as netizens raged over what seemed to be Malacañang’s accessing and spreading of the leaked data, which officials later addressed as a possible “malicious forgery”.

NBI Director Virgilio Mendez issued the warning last Friday night said he ordered the agency’s Cybercrime Division to go after those who have taken possession of the Comelec data.

He said people who either upload or download those files from the Internet may face criminal charges.

The Comelec website was defaced last Easter Sunday by members of Anonymous Philippines.

One of the alleged hackers, 23-year-old Paul Biteng, was arrested on Wednesday night. NBI said they are now looking for two other hackers.

Another group of hackers, however, also illegally accessed the Comelec site and leaked the sensitive personal data of around 55 million voters.

The leaked data was then put up on the Internet by another group through a website WeHaveYourData.com that allows the public to search the sensitive information. NBI has taken down the site on Thursday night.

NBI has also started dismantling websites which claim to have the leaked Comelec data.

‘MALICIOUS FORGERY?’

As the public panicked over the leak of their data, some netizens have noticed that even Malacañang was supposedly accessing and spreading the leaked data.

READ MORE...

Twitter user @jesterinexile called the government’s attention after he saw the Palace seeding the said sensitive information via torrent.

Seeding is referred to as the uploading of already downloaded content for others to download from.

Yesterday, Malacañang responded, saying there is a possibility of “malicious forgery” in the accessing of the leaked data from the hacked Comelec website.

The Comelec voters’ database was hacked and made accessible online last week and one of the “seeders” or distributors of the file is allegedly “mail.malacanang.gov.ph,” which is Malacañang’s mail server address, which angered netizens for fear of leaking private information of voters online.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said that while the subdomain “mail.malacañang.gov.ph” has been delegated to as specific mail server under the Office of the President-Management Information System (OP-MIS) department since May of 2011, initial investigation revealed that there was no unusual activity that has been detected.

“It only suggests at this point, the possibility of a malicious forgery,” Quezon said.

“But this is not yet their final report so antayin na lang ‘yung final report (But this is not yet the final report so we will wait for the final report),” he said.

Quezon also said the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) will determine the accountability if proven that someone indeed used the Palace’s mail server to download the Comelec data. (With a report from Madel R. Sabater-Namit)

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 Candidates vow support for fisherfolk affected by South China Sea dispute Published April 24, 2016 11:51pm By ELIZABETH MARCELO, GMA News

Presidential candidates on Sunday promised assistance to fisherfolk affected by the tension in the disputed South China Sea or West Philippine Sea while the case regarding the country's claim is still pending with the United Nations arbitration court.

During the third and final-leg of the Commission on Elections-sponsored Pilipinas Debates 2016 held in Pangasinan on Sunday, presidential candidates Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas all agreed that the country must stick to the legal process in asserting the its claim in the disputed maritime territory.

The three presidential aspirants, however, said that while the case is still pending before the Hague-based UN arbitration court, immediate assistance must be extended to Filipino fishermen who are being prevented by the Chinese Coast Guard from fishing in certain areas of the disputed territory.

Binay said that if elected as president, he will personally talk to Chinese leaders in order to forge an agreement that would allow Filipinos to fish in the disputed sea while the legal process is ongoing.

Binay said he will also extend livelihood assistance to the Filipino fishermen and educational assistance to their children.

“Ang una kong gagawin kapag ako ay naging pangulo ay gagawa ako ng paraan upang makausap ko ang pamunuan ng China, na kung maaari, habang nag uusap pa ng pagmamay-ari ng mga lupang yan ay kayo ay mapayagan makapangisda,” Binay said.

“Pero habang nag uusap0usap pa pipilitin ko na mabigyan kayo ng puhunan para sa livelihood. Bibigyan din natin ng free education ang mga anak ninyo...libre gamot at hospital at mga pang araw araw na pangangailangan,” Binay added.

Poe, meanwhile said her administration will also start a dialogue with China but at the same time will work on improving the capability of the Philippine Coast Guard.

“Unang una, dapat dagdagan natin ng mga barko ang Coast Guard...Pangalawa bigyan nati ng mga radyo ang ating mga mangingisda,” Poe said.

Poe said her administration will also extend livelihood assistance to fishermen and will improve coordination with the local government in protecting them.

“Bawal ang mga commercial fishing vessel mga 15 kilometers from the shoreline. Hindi po pwede kayong agawan ng isda sa mga lugar na yun. Kaya dapat kausapin ang local government na tulungan kayo,” Poe said.

Meanwhile, Roxas said his administration will approach the West Philippine Sea dispute on two ways, first to provide social assistance to the affected fishermen and second is to get the support of the international community.

“Pagdating sa international, tanggapin natin na ang sitwasyon natin sa China ay dehado tayo, mas marami silang barko, baril, aircraft at may nuclear. Subalit hindi natin dapat isuko ang atin...Ang kabuoan ng impluwensiya ng international [community] ay kailangan natin," Roxas said.

“Iyan ang gagawin natin, tutugunan natin ang personal na pangangailangan mo. pero hindi natin isusuko ang atin,” he added.

Presidential candidates, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte likewise maintained that their administration will not surrender the country's claim over the West Philippine Sea. —NB, GMA News

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Candidates pull punches in last leg of Pilipinas Debates 2016 Published April 24, 2016 11:45pm Updated April 24, 2016 11:51pm By MAR MERUEÑAS, GMA News

Despite facing off for the last time before the May 9 polls, the five presidential candidates appeared to have pulled their punches, resulting in fewer heated exchanges than in the earlier stages of the PiliPinas Debates 2016.

The first opportunity to turn the discussion into a heated exchange came during the "Face-Off" round of the final leg of the Commission on Elections-sponsored event in Dagupan City.

Given an opportunity to ask a question to Vice President Jejomar Binay, Liberal Party Mar Roxas brought up the usual issues of corruption against the former Makati mayor, including the one surrounding overpriced buildings in Makati.

"Pagkakataon mo na po ito upang ipaliwanag ang mga charges na hindi mo nasasagot sa Senado," said Roxas, an apparent swipe at Binay's snub of Senate hearings on him and his family.

Binay, however, refused to directly answer the question, saying that he had already answered those issues many times and that he had decided to leave things up to the courts.

"Alam mo Mr. Roxas, ikaw ay shoot nang shoot, iyon ngang sinasabi sa Tagalog. Kung ayaw makinig, nagbibingi-bingihan. Kung ayaw tignan, nagbubulag-bulagan," Binay said.

"Hindi ko sasayangin ang oras ko... magsasalitana lang ako sa anong dahilan tayo ay pinagharap dito. Iyong plataporma at pinaninindigan natin," said the vice president.

Poe vs. Duterte

When it was Senator Grace Poe's turn to quiz Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the lawmaker opted not to confront the mayor about the controversial joke about the rape of an Australian missionary that he delivered during a campaign sortie.

She used the incident as a premise but the question was about what Duterte intends to do for women under his administration.

"Mayroon po kayo interview sa magazine that women are the weaker sex and alam na natin ang bago mong pronouncment na dapat nauna ang mayor at may isang nagreklamo ng rape, sabi niyo drama queen. Ano po ang kahihitnatnan ng babae sa inyong administrasyon?" Poe said.

In his controversial statement delivered before a throng of supporters earlier this month, Duterte described the Australian as "very beautiful" and that "mayor dapat muna ang mauna."

Duterte took the opportunity to enumerate the pro-women policies in Davao, including the prohibition of swimsuits in beauty pageants and creation of the first Women's Code in the country.

"That's how important women are for us in Davao. Ang mga babae doon, kung saan-saan sila mamasyal" and they would feel safe, Duterte stressed.

When Poe pressed further on how Duterte seemed to be dealing with women in public, obviously referring to how Duterte would kiss them in public, the Davao CIty mayor said: "That is what I am. You are you. I am I. Iyan ang identity ko."

On his rape remark, Duterte said: "Iyong babae na na-rape sa Davao, pinatay ko 16. Nagmura ako and I narrated it in a different situation. There's no malice in that. That is just a narration."

Duterte and Miriam

Duterte himself had an opportunity to grill another presidential bet, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, but he chose to stand down and ended up showering the lawmaker with praises.

"Ma'am Miriam, what can I ask of you? I am facing a woman who would become the president of the Republic of the Philippines. It is even an insult to the intellect of everybody to be asking a learned and experienced human being on this planet," Duterte said.

Left with no question to ask, the Davao mayor just said: "Ang tanong ko ma'am, how are you today?"

Visibly amused, Miriam reiterated that the medication she has been taking has greatly help her battle cancer. "I am almost back to normal good health," she said. —NB/JST, GMA News


GMA NEWS ONLINE

Smartmatic expects 100% transmission within a day after polls close on May 9 Published April 24, 2016 9:03pm

The Commission on Elections' provider of the automated election system expects to transmit all of the election results across the country by May 10 or within a day after the polls.

Smartmatic International Project Manager Marlon Garcia said the AES provider was looking to transmit the results from the 92,509 clustered precincts in 24 hours after the polling closed.

“This is not a commitment but my take is that it is going to be around 80 percent transmission just on May 9. By noon of May 10, we should already be almost done,” Garcia said in an interview.

Garcia said that sending results could even be faster if not only for the challenge posed by the country's lay of the land.

“We know that because of the difficulty in the geography in the Philippines and the availability of the signals in some of the areas, we may not be able to make it on May 9," Garcia said.

"The platform actually is to receive everything in the canvassing in one hour. But we know, based on our experience here, is it is going to take a while,” he added.

Garcia cited the successful outcome of the Transmission and Readiness Test (TRT) that the poll body conducted on Saturday in Taguig City; Pateros; Quezon City (1st District); Manila City (5th District); Digos City and Bansalan in Davao Del Sur; Iriga City and Buhi in Camarines Sur; and Alburquerque and Cortes in Bohol.

READ MORE...

“We have proven that the platform we are going to use on Election Day is ready. We are ready to go on May 9.... Definitely on May 9, at the end of the day, we are expecting a high transmission percentage,” Garcia added.

He said the AES provider got 100 percent transmission on Saturday evening after using cellular or satellite networks.

“It is a small simulation of what the Election Day is going to be like. But we were able to test absolutely everything that we are going to be using on Election Day,” Garcia said.

Garcia reported that Smartmatic would deploy 45,000 technicians in all of the 36,788 voting centers as well as in the canvassing centers.

“Everywhere where there will be something related on May 9, Smartmatic will be there,” Garcia said.

Smartmatic personnel will also be manning the National Support Center.

In the 2013 polls, the Comelec and Smartmatic was able to attain a 76-percent transmission rate. —NB, GMA News

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PILIPINAS DEBATES 2016 How presidential bets will push for peace in Mindanao Published April 24, 2016 11:27pm By AMITA LEGASPI, GMA News

Four of the five presidential candidates on Sunday vowed to continue talks with rebel groups to achieve peace in Mindanao and eventually address poverty in the region.

During the third leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Jejomar Binay, and Senator Grace Poe noted the need for peace talks in order to push development in southern Philippines.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who was first to speak, proposed the dismantling of private armies of politicians in southern Philippines.

"Mayroong private army na kaiba pa sa Armed Forces of the Philippines. Iyan nangggaling sa isang politiko dyan na maraming ninakaw sa gobyerno kaya kaya niya magpatakbo ng private army. At itong army na ito hindi na madisiplina dahil sinasabi nila nagtutulong naman daw sila sa gobyerno," she said.

She added that there is a need to adopt the Muslim's customary laws into the country's western-style of justice system.

"We have to adopt their customary traditional law into our western-style model of the justice system. For example, maganda yung ugali ng Tausug kaya ginawa nang municipal ordinance ng isang bayan, pagkatapos mayroon silang Shariah court na maganda rin ang mga base," she said.

"Kaya sa dalawang paraan na ito, maaring magkatagumpay na tayo sa wakas at mahinto ang gyera o terrorism sa Mindanao," she added.

Roxas said the Aquino administration pushed for the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and later the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to achieve peace but the Congress failed to pass it.

"Pag ako po ay naging pangulo, isusulong ko po 'yan dahil peace without progress hindi mangyayari pero progress without peace ay hindi rin mangyayari," he said.

"Alam natin kung walang development, walang kapayapaan. Pero kung walang kapayapaan, wala ring progreso o development. Kaya dalawang kilos ito. Sa isang bahagi, yung ating gobyerno isinusulong ang usapin para sa kapayapaan sa lahat ng mga sektor lalunglalo na sa MILF, sa kabilang sektor naman, sa kabilang bahagi, yung development," he added.

He said the infrastructure development brought to Mindanao in the past five years is double the projects in the past 12 years.

Historical injustices

Duterte, for his part, said the war in Mindanao is deeper than some people might think.

"You know this may sound funny to you but when Magellan landed in Leyte, Islam was already planted firmly in Mindanao...But you know the conquerors and the Americans and Spaniards kinuha nila ang Mindanao kaya noong pumunta yung sundalo ng mga Espanyol pati Amerikano, gyera talaga," he said.

He said there is a need to discuss and correct the historical injustices against the people of Mindanao.

"We have to talk and we have to correct the historical injustices. I tell you as a mayor of the city of Davao, there will be no peace, there can never be a federal government until we talk to the NPAs (New People's Army), which has been fighting us, estudyante pa ako, ngayon 70 years old na ako. It has to be development, but you have to make the peace," he said.

"Bago ka makagalaw, 'pag hindi mo nakausap ito in peace talks, everything will be in vain," he added.

Duterte said that only the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law will appease the Moro people.

"I would like to tell you, I am telling now the Republic of the Philippines, nothing will appease the Muslim, the Moro people if you do not give them the BBL," he said.

He said the Moro people are ready to compromise but there should be a talk.

"I said we have to talk, we cannot fight forever unless these injustices are corrected. Ang mga Moro naman are ready to compromise, hindi naman kasalanan ng Kristiyano they came in droves. Ang sabi kasi ng mga Amerikano, go to Mindanao because it is a land of promise simply because walang Morong magtrabaho sa kanila. That started the migration," he said.

Binay said he will push for lasting peace through talks, but believes the root cause of rebellion is poverty and that should be addressed as well.

"Sa aking palagay yung lasting peace makakamit kung mahaharap po natin ang problema ng kahirapan na naglipana po sa inyong lugar. Iyan po ang pinagmulan kung bakit po mayroong gustong umalis, ito ho ay gumagamit ng dahas para ibagsak ang pamahalaan. Pero ang puno't dulo po n'yan ay yung kahirapan," he said.

For her part, Poe said the peace talks should include all sectors.

"Kung ako ang magiging pangulo, ipagpapatuloy ko ang usaping pangkapayapaan pero dapat kasama ang lahat at hindi tayo dapat namimili nang iilang grupo," she said.

But for the terrorists who kill and injure people, the senator believes an all-out war should be declared against them.

"Sa Mindanao, ang kapayapaan ay mahalaga pero sa mga terorista na nanakit o pumapatay, hindi natin sila dapat pagbigyan. Kung ayaw nilang makipagbalikan, makipag-usapan sa gobyerno, all-out war sa mga nagbabanta sa atin pero dapat all-out development sa Mindanao," she said.

Poe said there is a need to hold bilateral talks with neighboring countries in connection with the fight against terrorism.

"Kailangan magkaroon tayo ng bilateral talks para talagang sugpuin ang terorista sapagkat nawawalan ng trabaho ang ating mga kababayan," she said.

She also noted the importance of infrastructure projects that would connect different towns and provinces.

"Importante rin na pangalagaan natin ang imprastruktura sapagkat kung konektado kayo sa isa't isa mas madaling mababantayan ang mga teritoryo natin sa Mindanao," she said.

The senator said Mindanao receives very little support from national government amid the fact that most agricultural products come from southern Philippines.

"Makikita mo talaga na kulang ang suporta sa Mindanao, hindi ko alam kung bakit. Pero sa tingin ko, bilang nanay, dapat ang patas na pagtrato sa lahat, malayo mang lugar sa Pilipinas o malapit," she said. —ALG, GMA News

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'HOW ARE YOU TODAY?' Miriam gets kind treatment from Duterte during face-off Published April 24, 2016 11:03pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte deviated from his usual audacious stance and showed some gentleness on Sunday’s third leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016, at least to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.

Tasked to grill Santiago in the face-off round of the debate held in PHINMA University of Pangasinan, the tough-talking Duterte, recently controversial because of a rape joke, instead praised her and even inquired about her condition.

“Ma’am Miriam, what can I ask of you? I am facing a woman who would become the President of the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.

Duterte, who has said that he favors killing criminals, continued his words of affirmation even though his time to ask a question was up. The hosts did not stop him.

“It is even an insult to the intellect of everybody to be asking an learned and experienced human being in this planet,” he said.

To this, Santiago just gave a big smile while her supporters cheered her on.

Asked by one of the hosts if he has a question, Duterte responded, “Ang tanong ko, ma’am, how are you today?”

Santiago, a cancer survivor, replied with an update on her health.

“I am almost back to normal good health because I am on a secret pill that is not yet available in the market but being sold at very atrociously expensive. It is a miracle worker in the sense that I am almost normal now,” she said.

Duterte then continued their friendly exchange.

“Oh come on, you will live for a thousand years. No doubt about it. I rest my case,” he said.

Duterte and Santiago are known to be close to each other. In the first presidential debate in Cagayan de Oro City in February, the pair exchanged friendly remarks instead of barbs. Netizens found their closeness cute and called their tandem “DuRiam.” —KBK, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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