Philippines President’s website defaced by Anonymous Hackers
The Filipino branch of the hacker collective Anonymous i.e. Anonymous Philippines has defaced and hacked the website of their President Benigno Aquino III. The hack was performed in the wee hours of Thursday morning and it was done to express dissatisfaction over the conduct of the President, especially his handling of the Sabah crisis. The Anonymous Philippines has also attacked many other prominent government websites as well during the attack and this is not the first time they have attacked the government. Sabah is one of the constituent states of Malaysian federation which is the reason for dispute between Philippines and Malaysia and the ensuing struggle has taken the lives of more than 60 people including Malaysian forces and the Sulu sultanate forces.
Apparently the hack was committed even after the government had taken the necessary precautionary measures against such attacks, including high security software such as CloudFare anti- DDoS software along with others. CloudFare protects against the Denial of service attacks which are commonly perpetrated by cyber criminals. But it seems that the hackers got through despite all the measures and they simply weren’t enough this time.
The hackers defaced the Latest News section of the President Aquino’s website after bypassing the security measure and left a lengthy message along with links to the facebook profiles of the hackers. The condemnatory message is about the mishandling and inaction on part of President Aquino in the Sabah crisis issue, which is
“Greetings, President Aquino! We have watched how you signed into law a bill that endangers and tramples upon the netizens’ freedom of speech and expression. Now, we are silent witnesses as to how you are mishandling the Sabah issue. We did not engage the Malaysian hackers who invaded our cyberspace since we expected you to appropriately and judiciously act on the same, but you failed us.
“You did nothing while our fellow brothers are being butchered by the Malaysian forces, and while our women and children become subject of human rights abuses. If you can’t act on the issue as the Philippine President, at least do something as a fellow Filipino. We are watching.”
The attack was confirmed by the Malacañang i.e. the official workplace of the President on early Thursday morning. The Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office also confirmed the hack and assured the site would return to normal in her formal announcement,
“At around 1:30 a.m. today, we detected a breach when an errant sentence critical of the government on the Sabah issue was found to have been inserted in one of the news items within the website. No further intrusions were made as the internal security protocols were activated.” And she also mentioned that “We expect to resume public display of the President’s website in a few hours after needed protection measures have been put in place”.
The website has been restored to its normal functioning at the time of writing. This is the second attack of such proportions by Anonymous Philippines after the attacks in October which were retaliation for passing of the Anti Cyber crime act.