Hacktivists seek release of suspect in Comelec data breach


MANILA - Computer hackers from Anonymous Philippines on Monday gathered outside the Department of Justice (DOJ) office to ask for the release of a suspect in the security breach of the Commission on Elections website in March.

Masked members of the group insisted that their fellow hacker Paul Biteng only defaced the Comelec website to underscore the lack of security measures for the website.

They stressed that Biteng was not responsible for downloading the personal information of some 54 million voters, and leaking this database via a publicly accessible website.

READ: 'Comelec data leak like giving car keys to a thief'

"Naninindigan po ang Anonymous na walang mali sa aming ginawa. Ito po ay pagpapakita lamang na ang gobyerno ay nagpapabaya sa seguridad ng data ng bawat Pilipino," a member of the group said.

"Ang pag-leak ng 51 million na data ay hindi ginawa ng Anonymous kundi ng ibang grupo."

The group added that if complaints should be filed over the cyber attack, these should be against the Comelec for their alleged failure to safeguard the sensitive data of voters.

Anonymous Philippines claimed they warned Comelec of its poor security measures as early as 2013 but the poll body did nothing.

"Comelec, matagal na namin kayong sinusubaybayan. Ang inyong sistema ay binabantayan namin simula ng 2010. Ibinunyag na namin at nakipagpulong kami noong 2013 at sinabi namin na mahina ang website pero anong nangyari?" a leader of the group said.

"Hindi ba't kapabayaan ito samantalang ang inyong mga opisyal ay nagkakamal ng malaking-malaking sahod mula sa tax ng aming bulsa, kayo naman ay nagpapabaya sa aming seguridad."

Anonymous Philippines said they will not launch any cyber attack until after the May 9 elections. They urged other groups to refrain from using their name in any attempt to discredit the polls.

The group vowed to continue monitoring the government as they plan their next steps on Biteng's case.

Biteng, also known as "PhantomHacker Khalifa," was arrested last April 21. He is facing charges for violations of the Cybercrime Prevention Act specifically on access, data interference and illegal use of devices.

Jonnel De Asis, a second suspect in the hacking of the Comelec website and leak of voters' database, was nabbed last Thursday.

Ronald Aguto, head of NBI Computer Crimes Division, said De Asis is responsible for uploading the 430-gigabyte voters' database, using the alias Lulz Security group.

Authorities are still on the lookout for a third suspect in the hacking, and other individuals who downloaded the leaked registration records. -- Report from Dexter Ganibe, dzMM