[PHOTO -Malaysian websites hacked by Filipino hacktivists]

MANILA, MARCH 11, 2013 (MANILA STANDARD) By Melvin G. Calimag - With a cyber battle between Filipino and Malaysian hackers erupting over the weekend as a result of the on-going standoff in Sabah, the government is now speeding up plans to host all government-owned sites as part of a new unified security strategy.

Louis Casambre, executive director of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) of the Department of Science and Technology, said in an interview that the government had drawn up the plan as early as last year but is now being gradually rolled out.

Under the current set-up, each government agency has its own IT plan, which includes the hosting of their respective websites. Most of these agencies, however, have contracted third-party providers for their Web hosting needs.

Aside from creating fragmented IT systems in bureaucracy, this has proven to be an insecure arrangement as shown by the attacks unleashed by Chinese hackers at the height of the West Philippine Sea dispute last year that embarrassed the national government.

[The defaced website of Cebu province’s Moalboal by Anonymous Malaysia. (Source:]

So far, only minor government sites such as the site of Calauan, Laguna have been attacked by purported Malaysian hackers, according to Drexx Laggui, IT security consultant of the ICTO.

“We’re currently working on fortifying top-value government sites such as Gov.PH as these are more critical compared to other low-value sites that serve as mere online brochures,” said Laggui.

Laggui refused to call the hacking incidents as online war but only a “skirmish” between private groups or individuals who took to the Web to air their opinions on the Sabah issue.

He said the government cannot do anything on the cyber battle except to implore the two sides to exercise restraint. “Anyway, the main chapter of Anonymous (hackers group) has already urged the hackers from the Philippines and Malaysia not to escalate the exchange,” he said.

Laggui, whose role as “architect” requires him to recommend the appropriate IT security measures to the ICTO, said the infrastructure needed for the cyber-security plan is ready at the ICTO.

He said the facility will serve as a “command center” for cybersecurity concerns, and will have the ability to host all government websites.


Battle for Sabah moves to cyberspace (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 5, 2013 - 12:00am

[Supporters of an armed bid by Filipino intruders to lay claim to a Malaysian state took their campaign to cyberspace on Monday, manipulating Google search listings to show a message backing the incursion.]

MANILA, Philippines - Supporters of the Sultanate of Sulu claiming ownership of a Malaysian state took their campaign to cyberspace yesterday, manipulating Google search listings to show a message backing the incursion.

A Google search for the word “Sabah,” the state at the center of Malaysia’s biggest security crisis in years, came back with a search results page that quotes Wikipedia calling Malaysian control of the state “illegitimate.”

“Sabah is illegitimately considered one of the 13 member states of Malaysia, and is said to be its easternmost state but in fact, it is part of the sultanate of Sulu,” the passage read, shown in a box previewing the Wikipedia entry for Sabah.

Malaysians have been shocked by the militant incursion, which began when an estimated 100 to 300 people landed on the shores of Sabah on Feb. 12, claiming the state for the heir to a former Philippine sultanate.

The website of Stamford College in Malaysia ( was hacked by a certain “Kismet-07” of the hacktivitist group Anonymous Cebu. The website was back to normal by 1 p.m.

In the message posted on the website, the hacker warned the Malaysian government not to do “what China is doing at this time.”

“Time has come to reclaim what is truly ours,” the statement read. “Sabah is owned by the Philippines, you illegally claiming it (sic).”

“Even if you look at the history of Sabah, Philippines is the owner of it,” it added.

The hacker warned Malaysia against hacking Philippine websites, “or else we will continue attacking your cyber world.”

“You started the fire. We will end it with dust,” the hacker said.

Philippine news portals have said a number of sites in the country were hit by pro-Malaysia hackers.

The hacking incident occurred days after the tension in Sabah escalated as supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III refused to leave the disputed territory.

Defacing of websites has become a common occurrence in Philippine cyberspace. Government websites had been hacked following the passage of the anti-cybercrime law.

Chinese websites were also defaced by supposed Filipino hackers over the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea. Janvic Mateo

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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