MANILA, Philippines - The hacker who released what he claimed were the mobile phone numbers of President Aquino said his act was not cyber vandalism.
“The release of the numbers is not cyber vandalism but a security problem… (It shows) that there are loopholes in security and that it could result in more damage if other people discover (Aquino’s personal numbers),” said #pR.is0n3r, who agreed to be referred to as a “he,” in a post in his Facebook page.
The definition of vandalism, he explained, is the “willful damage or destruction of property with no other purpose than damage or destruction.”
“I didn’t know that the messages of the people who are asking for answers on various national issues are destructive,” he stressed.
The Facebook post of #pR.is0n3r came after Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang said the release of the numbers was “cyber vandalism plain and simple.”
But Carandang would not confirm if the numbers are really the President’s.
“We are dealing with it. That’s all I can say for now,” Carandang said.
Malacañang also said that there is nothing to worry about the President’s security despite the reported hacking of his cell phones.
“The President’s physical protection and security are ably handled by the PSG (Presidential Security Group),” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a text message yesterday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte also declined to comment further on the incident.
“We don’t want to have anything to do with that issue anymore... In our judgment, and at least as far as the President is concerned, we don’t want to dignify those alleged numbers with a response,” Valte was quoted as saying in a report yesterday.
“(The President) remains to be very accessible, and it’s not that hard to reach and talk to him,” she added.
But #pR.is0n3r – who claims to be affiliated with hacktivist group Anonymous Philippines – insisted in his latest post that the group decided to release the numbers to give the public an opportunity to contact the President directly.
“We are not sure if he will be able to personally read our messages if we post this on his fan page. It’s hard to write a letter especially since the letter of the Sultan of Sabah got lost,” #pR.is0n3r said, referring to the supposed missing letter of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to Aquino.
“Anonymous Philippines organized this unique move to give the people direct access to the highest person in the land,” he added.
#pR.is0n3r also said that members of Anonymous Philippines are proud to be called “cyber criminals” if the government will insist on branding their move as a crime.
“If our fight against corruption using technology and our brains is a crime, if giving the public a way to get some answers on national issues is a crime, if being the voice of Filipinos on the Internet is a crime, then we are all proud to be called ‘cyber criminals’,” he said.
The hacker also reiterated his earlier admission that releasing the alleged numbers of the President was wrong and said that Anonymous Philippines understands that Aquino cannot solve everyone’s problems alone.
But he noted that he wants to give the public an opportunity to tell Aquino their sentiments, even just for a night.
He expressed anger against “narrow-minded individuals” who abused the information, saying he kept on reminding Filipinos not to waste the opportunity to contact the President directly. – With Aurea Calica