News Release

DICT: China reached out to PH amid cyber attacks on various gov’t email addresses

China has reached out and asked Philippine government’s cooperation following reports of cyber attacks against various email addresses and websites of Philippine government agencies, including the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) as well as the private website of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

“Yes, actually, they have reached out to ask if we can do some cooperation,” Department of Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday when asked if the government will coordinate with China to prosecute those behind the alleged cyber attacks.

Secretary Uy said that conducting an investigation on the alleged cyber attacks is a mutual activity that should be undertaken both by the Philippine government and China. He said China is willing to help to determine and identify the cyber attackers.

He added China has also mentioned if the Philippines can share information with them.

“We are open to working with everybody,” Secretary Uy said.

Asked if the alleged cyber attack was discussed during a recent meeting with President Marcos, Secretary Uy said they regularly conduct investigation on all form of threats from all sectors and from all sources, including those from outside the country.

He emphasized the DICT is taking all forms of threats very seriously. “We take those things very seriously and we actually have built up more competencies in detecting early on, any of those attempts to hack into not just government systems, but also private corporations. There have been some private institutions that were also compromised by ransomware,” he said.

“So, the directive of the President has remained the same, we need to be vigilant and we need to be always on guard to protect our cybersecurity infrastructure. However, this is not a single person or a single agency’s responsibility,” he added.

Secretary Uy said they also need the cooperation of the public as everyone has the responsibility of protecting the country’s cyber borders.

Uy said they do not want to speculate on the motive of the hackers but said that “anything is possible” when asked if China’s reaching out to Philippines rule out the suspicion that it has something to do with the South China Sea issue.

“Well that’s not for us to come out with that conclusion yet, it’s too early. But anything is possible. So, we just need to, I think, currently take it at face value and see how things develop. In cyber investigations and in analyzing all of this, we never rule out anything,” Uy said.

“Everything is in the realm of the possible, but we always maintain open arms. Anyone who wants to cooperate, you know, we don’t reject those offers and then see where we go from there,” he added.

The DICT recently said it foiled a series of cyber attacks on government email addresses and websites. PND