Gov’t told to partner with private sector for stronger cybersecurity
MANILA, Philippines — The government should partner with the private sector for a robust and pro-active cybersecurity posture to avoid similar ransomware attack that hacked the system of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).
The call “to partner with the private sector in adopting a robust cybersecurity posture to protect the country’s critical infrastructure sector from cyberattacks” was made by consumer advocacy group CitizenWatch Philippines.
“The PhilHealth ransomware incident is a painful reminder that cyberspace is never a space safe, because hackers and other nefarious actors threaten to negate our gains in transitioning into a digital economy,” said CitizenWatch co-convenor Kit Belmonte in a statement on Monday.
Belmonte noted that critical infrastructure systems such as energy, transportation, finance, water, food, agriculture, healthcare, and emergency response all rely on information and communications technology to operate.
“Cyberattacks can cause disruptions that significantly impact public safety, security, economic stability, or public health,” he said.
“Cyber-attacks have tangible costs – ransom paid, downtime, lack of productivity, the breach of personal information of millions, threats of exposure, not to mention the erosion of citizens’ confidence in our systems and institutions,” he added.
Computer hackers attacked the website and online application of PhilHealth on September 22.
Services and transactions of the state insurer were done offline for several days before its website was restored on September 29.
However, a “staggering” amount of files equivalent to more than 730 gigabytes of data had been leaked from the state insurer’s system, according to the National Privacy Commission.