MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Foreign and Filipino "Anonymous" hacktivists protesting the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 focused their attacks Wednesday on the website of Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto.
Hackers posted several tweets identifying Sotto's websites as one of the targets in one of the biggest Internet attacks in Philippine history dubbed as "#OpPhilippines" that began early in the morning.
Sotto shrugged off the website attacks.
"Hayaan mo sila, hindi natin pinag-aaksayahan ng oras yang mga yan," he said.
"Iyung firewall ko, medyo matibay. Pero maganda masubukan na iyung nilagay ng mga bata ko," he said.
Senate records credit Sotto as behind the Internet libel rider in Republic Act No. 10175 may send an erring Internet user to prison for up to 17 years.
He has denied inserting the libel clause and said he only "suggested" that it be included in the legislation.
A message posted by hackers later in the day claimed that they were successful in bringing down 17 websites, including those belonging to Sotto, The Official Gazette, the Senate, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine National Police, and the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The affected websites, according to the "xL3gi0n Hackers" are:
The hackers posted screenshots of the websites and identified the tools and methods they used in their attacks, including distributed denial of service (DDOS), botnet, and http flooding.
The attacks are still ongoing, as of posting.
"This movement does not advocate violence. We exist because of deprived rights to exercise the freedom of speech," one of the hackers said on Twitter. "We are concerned about the right of each and every citizen to speech. We're not here to conquer, we are here so that cries can be heard."
Defense of Palace websites gov.ph and president.gov.ph have been beefed up, with the use of the Cloudflare content delivery network and domain name server service to defend them from DDOS attacks.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in a statement Wednesday, denounced the attacks, dubbing them as "online vandalism."
"Hackers who claim to be aligned with critics of the Cybercrime Act are the ones who have engaged in online vandalism, depriving the broader public of access to much needed government information and services online," he said. - with a report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News