By Ashley Erika O. Jose, Reporter

THE DEPARTMENT of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on Sunday that it is now investigating the cyberattack on the House of Representatives (HoR) website in the wake of recent incidents targeting government systems.

“We already are in coordination with the HoR regarding their cyber security incident and are now doing an extensive investigation on the matter,” DICT Assistant Secretary Renato A. Paraiso said in a Viber message to reporters on Sunday, hours after the HoR was defaced.

Uploaded on its website was an image of a trollface with the words, “You’ve been hacked, have a nice day,” written. “Happy April Fullz kahit October palang! Fix your website hacked by ~3musketeerz,” the caption read. [Happy April Fullz even if it’s just October! Fix your website hacked by ~3musketeerz.]

The caption was also placed on the House’s press releases and its committee hearing schedule on the website.

In a separate statement, House General Reginald S. Velasco said they have coordinated with the DICT, particularly its Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), and other law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident.

As of press time late Sunday, the DICT’s Mr. Paraiso said they were still determining the identity of the hackers, adding that they were not dismissing the possibility that the same group behind previous cyberattacks on several government agencies are responsible.

“As of now we’re still investigating to determine the perpetrators. Initially we can’t say if it’s connected but the timing is [suspicious],” he said without elaborating.

Last week, Mr. Paraiso said that upon their investigation, the DICT believes that a “local group” described as “somewhat amateurish” was behind the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data breach.

He said the local hacker was not as “sophisticated” as Medusa, the foreign group, behind the ransomware attack on Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) that compromised at least 600 gigabytes of data.

On the part of the House, Mr. Velasco said: “We are committed to ensure the security and integrity of our digital platforms, and we will implement additional measures to prevent such incidents in the future.”

The public was also advised to be suspicious of e-mails or messages that claim to be from the House.

Sunday’s incident is the latest handiwork of hackers, following recent cyberattacks on the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). — with Beatriz Marie D. Cruz