Philippines ready for Chinese cyber warfare, Malacañang says

Time line image from securityaffairs.co

Malacañang on Sunday said it is ready to deal with potential cyber-attacks, amid reports that China is investing in cyber-warfare as part of its steady military buildup.

"Our technical people are very competent; we have been coordinating with the Department of Science and Technology. As to whether (the) Chinese have been involved or investing in that, we are in no position to comment," presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on dzRB radio.

"Suffice it to say that as soon as we detect on our servers (an incident) that would point to a (denial of service attack), our IT people are on top of it and they are competent in dealing with it," he added.

He was referring to recent cyber-attacks on government websites, including that on the Official Gazette (www.gov.ph ), where there were signs the attacks originated from China.

Other recent attacks had targeted the sites of the Department of Budget and Management (www.dbm.gov.ph ) and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph ).

The attacks occurred amid a month-long standoff between the Philippines and China at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

The dispute started when Philippine military forces spotted Chinese fishermen gathering marine species from the area but were blocked by Chinese vessels when they tried to make arrests.

Some of the attacks from China had involved the defacement of the sites with a Chinese flag and the Chinese national anthem playing in the background, along with a message that Huangyan Island – the name China uses to refer to the shoal – is China's.

Reports during the weekend quoted the Pentagon as saying China is pursuing a steady military buildup and investing in cyber-warfare.

"We have recently been the subject of several cyber-attacks... (but) so far we have been able to defend our website," Lacierda said.

No info on added Chinese warships

Meanwhile, Lacierda said the Palace has no information on reports that China has sent five warships close to the maritime domains of the Philippines after the arrival of the nuclear-powered US submarine USS North Carolina.

"We have no information na magpapadala ng Chinese warships sa waters natin, I have no information on that. I checked it with the AFP, wala sila ganoong information," he said.

In the meantime, he said it is in the interest of both the Philippines and China to continue pursuing a peaceful solution to the standoff.

"It's in the interest of both countries to pursue a peaceful resolution to this," he said.

He added that on the part of the Philippines, it has been "prudent" in both actions and words in making gestures of goodwill on the matter.

"As emphasized by (President Benigno Aquino III), we have maintained our position of de-escalating the tension in the Bajo de Masinloc standoff," he said. 

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