Invest in cyber security tools, experts, firms urged

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |April 12,2018 - 09:36 PM

The Anti-Drone Gear and Magic cube are among the equipment introduced at the Cyber Forensic Recovery and Investigation conference at City Sports Club. CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON

With technical limitations on the part of law enforcement agencies, businesses should also invest in equipment and personnel to fend off cyber attacks.

Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) President Stanley Go said businesses should have a cyber security officer aside from just an IT (information technology) officer.

“Threats now are more on hacking and holding systems on hostage and they ask for ransom. Our police right now are mostly responding to complaints like online libel and posts on social media,” said Go in a phone interview on Thursday when sought for comment on the challenges law enforcers face in handling cyber crime cases.

Go said businesses could also employ the services or equipment of third party providers.

Supt. Jay Guillermo, Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-CyberCrime Group (ACG) spokesperson, cited the lack of cooperation of telecommunications companies as among the challenges they face in their work.

Guillermo said that they could only appeal for cooperation as the current laws had no provisions compelling these telecommunications companies to provide the digital evidence that they would need in their investigations.

Cooperation from these companies are limited to serious cases of cyberpornography and threats to national security but even in these case, it would take them as long as one to two years to get these evidence.

This is why, Guillermo said, in order to avoid cyber crimes, internet users must exercise caution especially in providing information, and uploading media into the internet.

Aside from the challenge of getting digital evidence from telecom firms, information technology companies, IT experts and managers, who attended yesterday’s Cyber Forensics Recovery and Investigations Conference at the City Sports Club, also cited the lack of equipment as a challenge the authorities were facing to keep up with the technologies to combat these kinds of crime.

But the good thing is that highly-advanced equipment are already available for use by both government and private companies, said Robert Arquiza, CEO of Worldtech Information Solutions Inc. which organized the event.

“That is why we are trying to make the public aware of the reality of cyber crimes and that the threat is real especially since a lot of use the internet and other ICT (information communication technology) equipment,” he said.

Arquiza said that the Philippines needs to be more aware of the threats of cyber crimes considering how Filipinos are avid users of the technology and is even the number one Facebook users for years already.

Being voracious internet users has also led to some problems specifically in Cebu which has become the number one source of cyber pornography in Asia, he added.

Despite the lag in the adoption of new technology, Arquiza lauded the Philippine National Police (PNP) for seeing the imminent threat of cyber crime and also allocating budget in upgrading their equipment.

Limitations

Guillermo said that their central and regional offices had responded to cyber crime complaints since 2013 and the cases have been growing over the years.

For 2013, the PNP-ACG has responded to only 150 complaints. This grew to 544 in 2014 and 1,098 in 2015. In 2016, they responded to 1,937 complaints.

The highest number of incident were recorded last year at 2,288. Majority of these cases are on online libel (646), online scam or estafa (367), photo and video voyeurism (355), and online theft (250).

Despite these numbers, Guillermo admitted that it is still very small compared to the 44.5 million internet users in the country based on 2016 data.
This is also due to their lack of manpower, he said.

“It has been very hard on us. We only have around 120 personnel and only 60 of that are doing actual investigations. The rest are doing administrative work,” Guillermo said.

“The number (of complaints we have acted on) is very few. Most of our citizens or the public do now know or do not want to complain about it. That is why what we are trying to also do is educate the public on how to use their social media accounts, how to use their smartphones and their computers,” he added.

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