By Darryl John Esguerra

(Yonhap file photo)

MANILA – The Philippines’ cybersecurity is now ”significantly better,” the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said Wednesday, citing the country’s improved detection and response mechanisms.

In a Palace briefing, DICT Undersecretary Jeffrey Ian Dy said the country is now employing new techniques and procedures against hackers and has been exchanging key information with local and international allies.

“What I would say is that, we are significantly better now. We are significantly better now. Our detection mechanisms are there. Our protective systems are there and you will notice that we are now sharing information also with our allies,” Dy said.

“Ibig sabihin hindi na ito (Meaning, it’s not just) one-way communication with our allies. We are also sharing with them, how we found out, certain tactics, techniques and procedures being employed by hackers of international origin,” he said.

However, Dy said the country still has a lot of room for improvement, especially in its detection capabilities.

“Are we at par with our regional counterparts? To give you an example, Singapore is only like six million people, but they are detecting approximately 18,000 attack per year. We are only detecting around 3,000 per year. But we are 118 million Filipinos,” he said.

He also pitched for the enactment of a cybersecurity law to augment the country’s defense in the digital sphere.

So far, around 2,900 early detections of hacking attempts at different government agencies’ platforms, including local government units, have been prevented, Dy said.

‘Face the case’

Meanwhile, Dy advised Manila Bulletin senior technology officer Art Samaniego Jr., who was implicated in hacking incidents involving private companies and government websites, to face the accusations against him.

A data security officer of Manila Bulletin has admitted to hacking around 90 websites, as well as servers based abroad, and identified Samaniego as the person who ordered the hacking.

“But for Art, my advice is trust the process, face the case. He will be given ample time to prepare for his defense. So he should. He should be given that privilege,” Dy told Palace reporters when asked to comment on the issue.

He said Samaniego is the founder of the ScamWatch Philippines, a partner of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center of the DICT against online scamming.

Samaniego has been quoted in earlier reports as denying the allegations against him. (PNA)