Tech Threats Facing Filipinos in 2019

Hootsuite, a US-based social media management platform, published a digital trends report early this year. The report indicated that the Philippines now have 67 million internet users. All of these users are active on social media.
Elsewhere, according to cybersecurity firm ExpressVPN’s research on internet use in thePhilippines, a typical Filipino spends 9 hours online per day. The report goes to state that thanks to this prevalent use, the government has started initiatives aimed at providing free internet to 99% of the country.
As a result of this widespread internet use, cybercrime is also on the rise. The Philippine Cybercrime Report 2016-2017 indicated that the various relevant investigative divisions received a total of 3,951 complaints of cybercrime between January to December 2016.
That was 53.92% higher than the number of complaints received the previous year. If there is any chance of successfully combating cybercrime in the country, it is essential to understand the tech threats facing Filipinos in 2019.
 1. Facebook Hacking
Just recently, in September of this year, a Facebook data breach compromised the personal information of 755,000 Facebook users in the Philippines.
The data breach compromised the users’ basic profile such as name, email address and phone number. It also compromised other sensitive data such as location, list of friends, groups and recent search queries.
Even though Facebook claimed to have fixed the breach within three days on September 28, it does not change the fact that thanks to this breach; these 755,000 Filipinos are now future targets of attacks.
With such a breach, the hackers can use the information to design a phishing or spam attack that is next to impossible to detect. Consider this scenario. User A is a fashion enthusiast, and she follows some reputable fashion brands.
User A’s most recent queries revolved around fashion, and some of her friends are fashion icons. With such data now in the hacker’s hands, all they have to do is design a believable advertisement that is seemingly from one of the brands User A follows.
Since they have her email address, they can send advertisement via email and chances are high User A will click on any links embedded in the email. That done, the hackers now have access to everything they need—from banking information to sensitive passwords and usernames.
So real is such a scenario that Privacy Commissioner Raymond Liboro said that Facebook ought to take into account the culture gap when it comes to risk analysis and react accordingly.
In essence, he was saying that compared to developed countries, those affected in the Philippines did not fully realize the risk and exposure. Every Filipino should keep this in mind as 2019 approaches.

2. Ignorance of Cybersecurity Best Practices

Globally, cybercrime is on the rise. Cybercriminals are using the advancing technology to their advantage to device even more sophisticated modes of attack. To stay ahead of the cybercriminals, one has to practice cybersecurity best practices religiously.
Unfortunately, most people are ignorant of these practices and only try to educate themselves once an attack has already happened. A good example is the ABS-CBN online storehack that affected 208 customers.
The hackers uploaded the malicious code on August 16th, and it kept running until the store takedown in October. Information stolen included customer’s name, credit card number, credit card expiration date and card verification number.
The saddest thing is that the store could have avoided this hack by using multi-factor authentication. The hackers kept guessing the Admin’s password until they got it right. They then used the access to upload the malware.
With multi-factor authentication, even after guessing the right password, they would have encountered another layer of protection such as verification via phone number. In addition to multi-factor authentication, here are some more best practices every Filipino should keep in mind.
  • Use of a good firewall
  • Always document your cybersecurity practices for future reference and to enable you to discard one that isn’t working anymore.
  • Constant reeducation on emerging threats.
  • Consider mobile phones as a source of threats and plan for them
  • Enforce safe password practices such as employees changing their passwords often.
  • Always backup your data.


3. There Aren’t Enough White Hat Hackers and Yet Too Many Black Hat Hackers

In a recent hacking conference known as Rootcon, Raymund Liboro, the Privacy Commissioner urged all white hat hackers to rise and help improve cybersecurity in the Philippines. In essence, he was asking for help in combating the rise of black hat hackers.
A few months ago, in April, a Filipino black hacking group known as Pinoy LulzSec hacked numerous websites including government sites such as the official website of the Municipality of Sta. Cruz.
The hacking of these sites is an annual event, and the group has promised to extend the event to April 3rd come next year. That means more websites will be hacked and the information exposed to everyone.
The need for white hat hackers is particularly urgent due to the launch of the PhilSys next month. PhilSys is a Philippine Identification System that will centralize all the personal information of Filipino residents.
Data from this system is sensitive and needs to be secure. As Liboro noted in the same conference, white hackers can play a significant role in helping secure the information from this system.
The Philippine government’s intention to work with white hackers is so serious that Liboro announced an upcoming “hackBAYAN” project. The project aims to work with white hackers to help the PhilSys managers identify weaknesses in the system, and develop strategies to deal with the flaws.

Final Word

With such weighty security threats, the need for cybersecurity experts in the Philippines is on the rise. The demand for white hackers and top cyber security firms is a burning need. Keeping this in mind is essential.

Writer’s bio:

Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on topics such as whistleblowing and cybersecurity tools.

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Hootsuite, a US-based social media management platform, published a digital trends report early this year. The report indicated that the...
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About combinebasic

I'm a husband, a blogger and Biomedical Machines Specialist, also a computer instructor and technician and a crazy writer, I like to write and build blogs and avid fan of social media. I have built this blog just to help others through information. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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  1. The Philippines VPN that I use is Ivacy. It's cheaper and more efficient that any of the providers in the market.


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