House website back online; SecGen vows to beef up cybersecurity | Inquirer News

House website back online; SecGen vows to beef up cybersecurity

/ 06:41 PM October 16, 2023


The website of the House of Representatives is hacked by "3MUSKETEERZ."

This photo shows the defaced website of the House of Representatives on Sunday, October 15, 2023. (Screen grab from the HOR website)

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has restored its website on Monday evening and assured the public that it would implement cybersecurity measures to ensure better preparedness in the future.


House Secretary General Reginald Velasco said that he immediately met with his executive committee to discuss the issue — including at the vulnerabilities pointed out by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) team that assessed the House systems.


“I immediately met my executive committee, and the recommendation was of course (to) strengthen our capability, cybersecurity.  The recommendation is to consider the possibility of outsourcing.  We would hire a third-party firm to help us improve our cybersecurity and rectify all these vulnerabilities discovered by the DICT — that our websites and digitized data are vulnerable to hacking,” he said.

Velasco said they will be looking at the credentials and the past experience of candidate firms, including a previous experience in working with government.

 “Whoever that outsourced company is, of course we will vet that, we look at the credentials, the experience, and maybe their client base also, whether they’ve been hired by any government agency, that’s what is important to us.  They should have previous experience working with the government for them to know what’s in store for them,” Velasco explained.

“Because for us, we have to admit that we lack cybersecurity experts.  We have an IT group which we’re trying to build-up ‘no, but we may lack the time to recruit people, to ensure that we address the vulnerabilities discovered by DICT when they investigated our internet platforms,” he added.

Earlier, Velasco confirmed in a statement that the official website of the House has been fully restored and operational.  He said investigation into the matter is still ongoing.

“We have taken comprehensive measures to enhance the security of our site, ensuring that it meets the highest standards of cybersecurity,” he said.


“The investigation into the unauthorized access is ongoing, and we are collaborating closely with relevant law enforcement agencies.  Our aim is to identify and prosecute those responsible for this breach to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.

The restoration efforts came after the homepage of the website, particularly a section showing photo journals, was defaced by supposed hackers.

A troll face was placed on the homepage, with the hackers going by the name ~3MUSKETEERZ urging the legislative chamber to fix their website.

Velasco believes the hackers’ intent in defacing the site was to test the House’ cybersecurity, noting that it does not appear to be politically-motivated.

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TAGS: House of Representatives, Website

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