Data stolen from Comelec office, National Privacy Commission confirms

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2017 07:11 PM

MANILA — The National Privacy Commission confirmed that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was again hit by another data breach.

NPC deputy commissioner Dondi Mapa said there was a “physical breach” of data inside the Comelec office and an investigation has been launched to determine how much information has been compromised.

"We have reports there was physical breach, opisina mismo ang natamaan. This happened just recently. We are still conducting the investigation and, based doon sa investigation, possible na mag-order kami sa Comelec to notify their data subject," Mapa said.

The NPC couldn't verify as of posting time if voter information was exposed.

At the height of the last year's presidential elections, the Comelec Voter Information system was hacked, which prompted the NPC to recommend the filing of criminal charges against Comelec chairperson Andres Bautista.

"We're currently investigating if it actually resulted in the personal data breach, kung yung mga botante na naka-rehistro ay nailabas yun. Sana hindi nawala iyun at walang back-up data," Mapa said.

"Breaches happen all the time, breaches as simple as a break-in or theft. Rest assured, we are working with Comelec to speed up the investigation."

ABS-CBN News tried but failed to get the election body's side on the story. The NPC has said that the Comelec is cooperating in the investigation.

Data security expert Myla Villanueva said hacking incidents all over the world are becoming more sophisticated, leaving many institutions exposed to data breach. 

"The threat profiles of breaches are different now. State-sanctioned breaches are happening. That’s why we encourage companies and institutions to make (data protection) a priority" said Villanueva, managing director MDI Group Holdings.