De Lima wants Senate probe into data breach of court documents from OSG

Senator Leila de Lima has sought a Senate inquiry into the reported data breach of sensitive court documents from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), saying this has potential to cause serious problems in the ongoing judicial proceedings involving key government agencies.

London-based cyber-security company TurgenSec detected the alleged leak, which compromised over 345,000 official documents. The company alerted the Philippine government and the OSG two months ago.

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra also raised his concern over the alleged data leak of official documents from the OSG.

De Lima said the Senate should investigate the recent data breach and the continuous proliferation and alarming trend of cyber-attacks against government and private firms in the country.

“The far-reaching ramifications of this breach could lead to greatly influencing ongoing court cases, and may even lead to the information being used to identify witnesses or attempt to intimidate victims” De Lima said in filing Senate Resolution No. 713.

“Therefore, such cyber-attacks demand a thorough investigation and a swift recalibration of government policy on cyber-security,” she stressed.

The detained senator said there is a necessity to urgently address the persisting vulnerabilities of the country’s cyber-security infrastructures and expeditiously put in place policies and safeguards to protect citizens and institutions from assaults and exploitation of hackers and criminals.

The OSG, De Lima said, should inform the Senate of the extent of the damage caused by the cyber-security breach, as well as the litigants whose information were compromised.

“The OSG must publicly outline the extent of the information exposed and breached, and what steps are being taken to ensure this cannot happen again,” she said.

“The exposure of information of a particularly highly sensitive nature must not be ignored,” the lawmaker added.

She pointed out this is not the first cyber-security attack against the OSG, nor is it considered an isolated incident.

In 2016, De Lima said hackers which identified themselves as Phantom Troupe were able to deface the OSG’s website.

“The OSG must be as swift as it has been in going after its declared enemies, in tracking down the perpetrators of the continued cyber-attacks against it which jeopardizes not only matters of state concern, but as well as pertinent information relating to government agencies and private individuals which could have also been likely leaked,” she said.