Bayan Muna calls for House investigation into cyberattacks against news websites

Published February 22, 2022, 2:19 PM

by Seth Cabanban

Bayan Muna party-list, on Thursday, Feb. 17, has filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the recent cyberattacks conducted against the websites of several news outlets for alleged biased reporting.

Bayan Muna representatives Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat filed House Resolution No. 2493 after reports of cyberattacks against the websites of major news outlets CNN Philippines, Rappler, and the Philippine Star recently surfaced.

Bayan Muna party-list logo (Taken from BAYAN MUNA PH FB/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has urged the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the recent cyberattacks against news websites such as CNN Philippines, Rappler and PhilStar,” read HR 2493.

Manila Bulletin ran a story titled “Who Attacked CNN Philippines?” by Wilson Chua last Monday, Feb. 7 detailing the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks allegedly conducted by hacker collective Pinoy Vendetta against the CNN Philippines website, the same type used against Rappler and the Philippine Star.

As written in Chua’s story, a member of the Pinoy Vendetta group said that these DDoS attacks were executed on these outlets in particular for their “biased reporting.”

Through the use of botnets, bots being compromised servers and computers, hacker collectives can take down websites and deny access to them.

HR 2493 also called attention to similar DDoS attacks conducted against independent media outfits such as Bulatlat, Altermidya, and Karapatan, attacks which are allegedly linked to the Philippine Army and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), according to Sweden-based digital forensics group Qurium.

“The DICT and the NBI should investigate the rampant cyberattacks against media websites, especially in this period when the country is facing a very crucial election, in which the public needs credible sources of accurate information.”

“The government should identify and stop the perpetrators of these cyber criminal acts and hold them accountable for these undemocratic acts that are probably aimed not only to interfere and disrupt the operations of the affected media entities but also at influencing the outcome of the May 9, 2022 elections,” concluded HR 2493.