MANILA – There was a spike in cyber attacks on Philippine government web sites, including a key Malaccañang agency, following the United Nations International Arbitration court’s ruling in favor of the Philippines on the West Philippine Sea territorial dispute.
A highly-placed Duterte Administration official disclosed that at least 68 national and local government web sites were hit.
Among the top targets of the attacks were the Department of National Defense and Malaccañang’s Presidential Management Staff.
The official added that the attacks started in the afternoon of July 12, 2016, the day the Permanent Court of Arbitration released its decision.
The Palace source added that the cyber attacks continued and surged again on Wednesday, July 13.
However, it was not clear if the attacks were carried out by parties associated with China itself, as they apparently emanated from multiple countries. So far, the government has not been able to pinpoint the origin of the attacks.
All were categorized as DDOS, or Distributed Denial Of Service actions.
In a DDOS attack, the target agency is flooded with incoming traffic from multiple sources, sometimes ranging in the thousands. The sudden surge of incoming traffic in effect overwhelms the capacity of the target agency’s web server to process requests – even if it tries to block them.
The surge also makes it difficult for the targeted agency to identify or distinguish legitimate requests from the malicious attacks.
Among the government web sites hit were:
The Department of National Defense
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
The Presidential Management Staff
The Department of Foreign Affairs
The Department of Interior and Local Government
The newly created Department of Information and Communications Technology was also hit.
Even “non–sensitive agencies” like the Komisyon sa Wikang Pilipino, the National Archives of the Philippines and the East Avenue Medical Center as well as local government web sites like the Manila City Hall were hit.
The official said the government continues to monitor the cyber attacks to see if the hackers will try to access important information and hack into systems.