Hackers remorseless, say they’d do it again
DESPITE their arrest and the string of criminal complaints they are facing, the two young men allegedly behind the hacking of the Commission on Election website and the leak of voter data would, given another chance, do it again, if only to prove the Comelec’s online data base has “very weak” safeguards.
Away from the discomfort of a real jail cell and inside the National Bureau of Investigation’s Cybercrime Division Office, Paul Biteng, 20, and Joenel de Asis, 23, said they did not exactly regret the hacking because they were able to get their message across.
“The Comelec lied when it said its website had strong safeguards. It lied when [its officials] said there was no sensitive [voter] information in the database. So, yes, I’d do it again if only to disprove that,” De Asis said softly.
He, however, said he would do it another way to ensure that only encrypted data would be put out in public to avoid revealing voters’ personal details.
Both men casually discussed their plight in detention. Biteng said thinking about jail made him unsure if what he did was worth all the trouble he’s in right now.
“I even asked my dad to do everything he could to post bail, never mind if we became dead poor. I want to be free again,” he said.
“Is it worth it? Yes and no. Yes, because the public has become more aware. No, because what we did could have a big impact on the elections. What if someone claims the results were comprised because of what we did? Of course, that wouldn’t be true but it would create an impact,” he said.
‘I don’t want to be jailed’
Both computer geeks, clad in hoodies, tried computing their jail time if they should be found guilty. Biteng would get a maximum of 60 years, while De Asis could receive up to 80 years.
Then it hit Biteng. “I can’t believe I could get 60 years for that. I think that’s too much. I don’t want to be jailed,” he said.
Biteng penetrated the Comelec’s website, then passed the code to two other hackers, one of whom was De Asis.
For this, both men face prosecution for data interference, illegal access and misuse of device. De Asis was slapped with a fourth violation for leaking the data on other websites.
The courts of Manila and Muntinlupa set their first hearings for Biteng and De Asis, respectively, on May 10 and May 4.
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