MANILA -- Computer crimes reported to police are on the rise, the Philippine National Police said Saturday.
According to a briefing paper on cyber crimes prepared by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, a total of 1,843 crimes involving computers were reported to police in 2007. This is more than three times the number of 527 reported in 2006.
A total of 2624 computer crimes were reported from 2003 to 2007. In 2005, only 161 crimes were reported to police. In 2004, the number was 56 and 37 in 2003.
Between 2004 and 2006, the PNP?s cyber crime unit investigated 195 cases requiring computer forensics.
The online crimes range from credit card fraud to pornography and copyright infringement as well as other crimes defined in Republic Act 8792 or the E-Commerce Act and RA 8484 or the Access Devices Regulation Acts.
CIDG chief Raul Castañeda said they are going ?full blast? on cyber crime.
?We are really focusing on cyber crimes. We have to be prepared because this is the wave of the future,? Castañeda told the Inquirer.
The CIDG?s efforts resulted in the conviction in 2005 of JJ Maria Giner, the first conviction of a hacker in the country. Giner was convicted under the E-Commerce Act for hacking into government websites.
Aside from that, the efforts have led to the disabling of 21 ?phishing? sites based in the country. Phishing is an attempt to fraudulently obtain sensitive information like usernames, passwords and credit card details for fraud with hackers trying to pass themselves off through friendly and trustworthy electronic communication.
Also, computer and cell phone forensics were used in other cases like the legal offensive against arrested members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People?s Army, the murder of former Abra Rep. Luis Bersamin, the cases against Magdalo soldiers, the Batasan bombing as well as other bombing incidents, and the Manila Peninsula siege.
Castañeda also revealed that training and procurement of equipment was ongoing as part of their efforts to beef up their capabilities in computer forensics and cyber crime investigation.
He noted that computer forensics as well as cell phone forensics were becoming more vital in anti-terrorism and anti-criminality operations.
Castañeda also said efforts to fight cyber crime were mostly concentrated in Metro Manila. But Castañeda said they will expand outside the National Capital Region by putting up satellite units in Davao, Zamboanga, Cebu and Baguio City.
At present, the CIDG?s Computer Crime Unit has only nine operatives. But of late, as many as 200 CIDG operatives have received training in investigating cyber crimes.