NBI mobilized to probe ‘hacking’ of Comelec servers – Guevarra

Published January 15, 2022, 6:33 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

National Bureau of Investigation

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been mobilized to assist the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the probe of the alleged hacking of the poll body’s servers.

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said the NBI’s cybercrime division and special project team started immediately on their assigned jobs on Comelec’s request.

“Today (Jan. 15), the NBI conducted a physical security inspection of the Comelec facilities in Laguna, together with representatives from Smartmatic and the Comelec,” Guevarra said

“Certain documents were turned over to the NBI for validation and authentication. A through investigation is now in progress,” he also said.

The Technews team of the Manila Bulletin discovered that a group of hackers was able to breach Comelec servers, allegedly downloading more than 60 gigabytes of data.

Among those reportedly downloaded were usernames and PINS of vote-counting machines (VCM).

MB’s Technews team immediately informed Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez of its findings.

Last Monday, Jan. 10, Jimenez said they have started validating the MB Technews’ report.

Jimenez said it is important for the poll body to verify such report.

He said: “When you say data breach in Comelec, people will really get nervous. That’s why it is important to us that we validate it and in case the report is wrong, of course someone will be responsible for that … because all of a sudden they issue a report without verification.”

Several groups have called for a thorough probe on the hacking incident.

In particular, the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said the reported hacking of the Comelec servers must be fully investigated and resolved at the soonest time possible.