The Armed Forces of the Philippines is continuously enhancing its cyber defense capabilities as threat groups and hostile forces take advantage of cyber space, a military official said Saturday.
Major Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, said scores of soldiers took part in a Cyber Defense Exercise (CYDEX) which was conducted as part of the ongoing AFP Joint Exercise (AJEX) “DAGIT-PA” in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“The CYDEX is part of our efforts to fully capacitate our personnel because battles are being fought not only on the ground but on cyberspace as well,” said Arevalo, exercise director in this year’s DAGIT-PA drills.
Earlier this month, AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay said that the online activities of international and domestic threats, particularly terrorist groups, have become more prevalent because of the COVID-19 pandemic where almost all activities shifted online.
Due to the pandemic, the CYDEX was also done virtually as the AFP partnered with cybersecurity firms Nexusguard and Kaspersky to train their personnel.
Six AFP units competed against each other to protect their systems against simulated cyber attacks using the appropriate cyber hygiene, Arevalo said.
He said the CYDEX aimed to build an AFP cyber security and defense infrastructure that can protect, detect, respond, and recover from various kinds of cyber threats.
“CYDEX is geared towards the assessment and strengthening of our cyber preparedness, examining incident response processes, and enhancing information sharing among AFP cyber units,” he noted.
The soldiers also participated in the execution of the Capture the Flag (CTF) concept where participants were given a specific website or IP address to check for vulnerabilities.
The Philippine Navy Naval Information and Communications Technology Center (NICTC) dominated the drills and was ranked first place.
It was followed by the AFP Communications, Electronics, and Information System Service (AFP-CEISS) at second place while the Cyber Battalion of the Philippine Army Signal Regiment took the third spot.
Completing the roster of participants were the AFP Cyber Group (fourth place); the Philippine Air Force 950th Communications Electronics and Information Systems Group (fifth place); and the Philippine Marine Corps’ Information Office (sixth place).
Cyber security awareness topics were also tackled in a series of lectures and practical exercises.
The AJEX DAGIT-PA is an AFP-wide unilateral exercise that aims to further enhance the joint force inter-operability and cohesiveness of all military units.
DAGIT-PA refers to “dagat, langit, at lupa” which stands for the capability of the military to conduct land, sea, and air operations.
Around 1,100 soldiers joined in the fourth iteration of the AJEX DAGIT-PA which started on Nov. 23 and will end on Dec. 4.