Project NOAH repels cyber attacks

By Ivy Jean Vibar, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Oct 04 2012 11:07 AM | Updated as of Oct 05 2012 01:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - In a series of social media posts, Project NOAH head Mahar Lagmay decried an attempt to hack into the Project NOAH servers.

“Project Noah servers are currently under DDoS attack. We are sorry for the temporary service interruption,” Lagmay (@nababaha) tweeted at around 10:30 a.m.

He later said the servers were under attack since early this morning.

“Just heard from DOST-ASTI engineers that they are winning the battle against the bad hackers. Project NOAH should be online again very soon,” he said.

“Mabuti na lang at alert ang mga programmers ng DOST-ASTI at nag-about turn si Marce. Sa lahat naman ng araw na mag-hahack, birthday ko pa!”

The site was working properly as of posting.

Several attempts

Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) is a project under the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). It aims to warn Filipinos on possible flooding due to heavy rain.

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is a type of attack where several systems target one system, overwhelming it and possibly making it difficult for legitimate users to gain access.

Due to the attack, visitors to the Project NOAH site experienced slow page loading times or were not able to access the site at all.

According to an email from DOST Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) communications head Roy Espiritu, the DDoS attack was detected from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. this morning, and resumed again at around 11 a.m. until around 2 p.m.

“[Project] NOAH is one of the services that use one of the government's uplinks. The attack this morning was not directed solely at NOAH, but was rather a distributed denial of service attack on that uplink, making it unable to respond to legitimate server requests,” he said.

According to Espiritu, he is not aware of attacks on other government sites. It is also difficult to determine where this morning’s attack came from.

“DDoS attacks usually use proxy servers located offshore to mask the IP address of the attackers,” he said.

‘Hacktivists’ deny attack

Recently, hackers labeled "hacktivists" have been attacking government sites in protest of Republic Act No. 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

While the hacking has received mixed reactions from people who both support and are against the law, many against it have expressed support for the hackers.

Some netizens who are against the new cybercrime law said they do not approve of the attempted attack on Project Noah. They noted the site provides Filipinos with important information on the weather.

Weather bureau PAGASA is currently monitoring tropical storm “Marce”, which is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Friday.

However, hacker group Anonymous Philippines, which was previously credited for previous attacks on government sites, has denied it is behind the attack.

“Pinapaalam ko po sa lahat na di sa amin galing ng PrivateX #pR.is0n3r Anonymous #Philippine Cyber Army Anonymous Philippines galing ang atake sa project Noah....Salamat po,” the group said on its official Facebook page.

“Kaya po pinahinto ko ang attack dahil medyo nawawala na sa ayos lalo na yung ibang nakikisali masisira na naman ang pangalan ng Anonymous,” said ~ SweetSexy18F, one of the members of the group.

Some netizens who are against the new cybercrime law said they do not approve of the attempted attack on Project Noah. They noted the site provides Filipinos with important information on the weather.

Weather bureau PAGASA is currently monitoring tropical storm “Marce”, which is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Friday.