PLDT blocks 10,000 links to child abuse materials in 'aggressive' crackdown

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2021 06:00 PM


MANILA - Some 10,000 links to child abuse materials online have been blocked in what PLDT Inc has called its "most aggressive" campaign just yet, it said Friday.

In the first half of June alone, PLDT Inc and Smart blocked access to over 4,500 URLs and domains that linked to online sexual abuse and exploitation of children, the telco said in a statement.

The crackdown was made possible with the membership access to the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), the telco giant said.
 
“We have extracted IWF’s complete list of links that host child sexual abuse materials or CSAM. This has enabled us to block more than 10,000 links since we joined the organization. IWF continues to update its database and, as allies, we also receive the same updates every day,” said PLDT and Smart chief information security officer Angel Redoble.

The IWF is backed by the European Commission and the global internet industry, PLDT said. It is a non-profit that is working with governments and other organizations in taking down web pages, keywords, and digital fingerprints that contain child abuse materials.

The telco said its IWF membership allowed PLDT and Smart "to block these illicit contents on the more difficult content level." PLDT can prevent consumers from accessing identified child abuse files, even those uploaded in legitimate domains, without disruptions in access to other sites.

PLDT and Smart earmarked close to P2 billion this year for its advanced cybersecurity operations center “where cybersecurity analysts predict, prevent, detect, and respond to all types of cyber threats like phishing and scamming activities” including online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

"It’s time for us to take on a more proactive role in protecting our customers against cyber-attacks. Our cybersecurity operations center has extended the same protection commonly found in enterprise clients to residential internet users because the home network often lacks the sophisticated capabilities to identify and fend off cyber-attacks,” Redoble added. 

In total, PLDT has cut access to over 13,000 URLs and domains that host sexually explicit materials featuring children, it said. 

The telco is also working with law enforcement agencies and international intelligence firms in assisting in investigations of crimes such as online sexual abuse and exploitation of children. 

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