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PHL told to pass cybersecurity laws

LAWMAKERS should push for more laws enhancing the government’s cybersecurity protocols and mechanisms after recent attempts to hack websites of state agencies, according to research group Capstone-Intel Corp.

“The national government, specifically the Department of Information and Communications Technology, should craft cybersecurity protocols and pass laws that cater to protect networks, systems and both government and public data from unauthorized access or cyberattacks,” Nick A. Conti, chief executive officer of Capstone-Intel, said in a statement.

He cited the recent string of cyber hacking incidents against the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Coast Guard among others, adding that it was “alarming” that no culprit has been caught yet.

Mr. Conti said the government should work with information security consulting companies to beef up cybersecurity systems.

Last month, Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said the upper chamber aims to approve a bill imposing tougher penalties on online investment scammers, phishers and other fraud schemes by the end of March.

Senate Bill No. 2560, the Anti-Financial Account Scamming Act (AFASA), reached the Senate plenary for debates on Feb. 21.

Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John E. Uy has said the Philippines only had about 200 certified cybersecurity experts in 2022.

Cybersecurity company Kaspersky said the Philippines ranked second among countries with the most cyberattacks worldwide in 2022.

“It’s crucial that the Philippine government maximize these information security firms at this point, considering that the trends in the digital landscape are fast changing and worrying,” Mr. Conti said. “As long as these hacking incidents persist, our public security remains at stake.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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