Philippines successfully wards off cyber attacks from China-based hackers, say top officials

The thwarted cyber attacks came at a time of heightened tensions with China. - PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (Reuters): Hackers operating in China attempted to break into websites and e-mail systems of the Philippine's president and government agencies, one promoting maritime security, but failed, an information and communications ministry official said on Monday.

The mailboxes of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the website of National Coast Watch, and the personal website of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr were among the targets of the unsuccessful hacking operations in January, DICT spokesperson Renato Paraiso told DWPM radio.

"We are not attributing this to any state. But using the internet protocol addresses, we pinpointed it to China," Paraiso said, adding the hackers were traced to be using the services of Chinese state-owned Unicom.

"We are appealing to the Chinese government to help us prevent further attacks."

Unicom and China's embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The thwarted cyber attacks came at a time of heightened tensions with China, largely over disputed territory in the South China Sea.

The Philippines is currently working on a five-year cybersecurity strategy to beef up its cyber defences to combat attacks and digital crimes. Its military last year announced it would create a cyber command.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Michael Perry) - Reuters

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