Jan 11 2010

Hackers deface 5th govt Web site, mock automated polls

Category: Security BreachDISC @ 1:45 am

By Jerrie Abella, GMANews.TV

Another government Web site was found defaced Sunday night – the fifth attack since last month.

Hackers of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Web site, however, took on a bolder approach by leaving a message that seemed to mock the upcoming automated elections.

“Ano ba gagamitin sa Election? Blade server? Juniper Firewall (what is going to be used in the elections? Blade server? Juniper firewall)?” the message read.

HACK YOU. A screen capture of the defaced Tesda Web site as of 11:12 p.m. Sunday.Before Tesda’s, hackers had also victimized the Web sites of the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Malacañang has expressed alarm over the series of hacking attacks on government Web sites, saying it raises new concerns about the security of the automated elections in May.

“Of course we are concerned. This is not just a problem in our country, this is not just something that has happened just recently, it’s happening all over the country so this is certainly something that we are sensitive to as a matter of information policy within government,” said deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar at a press conference last week.

Dirty finger

The hacked Tesda Web site also showed a black and white illustration of a man giving the “dirty finger” supposedly directed against several “abusive” military and police units.

A pair of bulging eyeballs also followed the pointer anywhere on the page, and background music was also set up on the site’s second web page to which it automatically transfers.

Aside from the derisive reference to the May elections, message of sympathy to a slain communist rebel and a potshot against an alleged abusive police officer also replaced the original contents of the site.

“Nakikiramay kami sa Iskolar ng Bayan, Freedom Fighter na si Kimay” (We sympathize with the death of scholar of the people, freedom fighter Kimay)” the hackers’ message read, referring to Kemberly Jul Luna, a young New People’s Army (NPA) cadre who was killed last December 15 in an encounter with the military in Bukidnon province.

The message also identified a certain PO1 Ramos as an “abusive” police officer.

The hackers also made the site automatically jump into a second page, which featured a background music; a job announcement supposedly from VenturesLink, one of the partners of Smartmatic-TIM in the automation of the elections, inviting technicians across the country to be part of its team; a quote from the Hacker Manifesto, a short essay written by well-known hacker Lloyd Blankenship after he was arrested in 1986.

The hacking of government Web sites has alarmed Malacañang, considering the attacks’ proximity to the May automated polls.Precautions

Following the attacks on government Web sites by hackers, Olivar urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and other agencies to take the necessary precautions to secure their Web sites.

“Other agencies which are not yet hit by this are likewise taking the necessary precautions, especially Comelec because of the automated nature of the next elections,” he said at last week’s briefing.

The Comelec had earlier said that adequate safeguards are in place to protect the election results from hackers. Spokesman James Jimenez said the system to be used in the coming automated polls would operate on a “virtual private network,” making it difficult for hackers to bypass the system’s security mechanisms.

Tags: Comelec, Commission on Elections, Department of Health, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Social Welfare and Development, DOH, DOLE, DSWD, Hacking, National Disaster Coordinating Council, NDCC, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Tesda

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