Hackers deface govt websites

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Cyber activists on Sunday hacked at least seven government websites, leaving messages urging citizens to join a protest march against widespread corruption in government.

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Government officials have not issued any statement about the hacking and the “Million Mask March” in front of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The cyber activist group, Anonymous Philippines, said it attacked government websites to “remind the country that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than just words.”

The protest is expected to draw Filipinos who are dismayed with corruption and scandals surrounding the legislators’ Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) and President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Among the websites that were defaced were that of the Office of the Ombudsman, according to Roy Espiritu of the Department of Science and Technology’s IT section.

The hackers condemned “this false democracy (and) this government and the politicians who only think about themselves”.

It left messages such as “to the corrupt- fear us,” and “the government, you are NONE.”

In August, an appeal for a street protest against graft, aired on social media like Twitter and Facebook, drew tens of thousands of protesters to Rizal Park in Manila. Several smaller protests, also publicized via Internet, have since been held.

Anger has grown following news reports that Janet Lim Napoles connived with some legislators to siphon some P10 billion from the lawmakers’ pork barrel.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd, elected in 2010 on an anti-corruption platform, has also become ensnared in the controversy as opposition and government critics have charged that he was also misusing special funds.

Last week, Aquino went on national television to declare “I am not a thief”. He accused the opposition of trying to divert public attention from their own alleged corruption.

“There is forensic work being done on our end to find out who did this because it is still a crime,” Espiritu said.

Those who deface government websites could face up to six months in prison, he added.

Since government agencies maintain individual websites with no uniform standards, it is difficult to secure them from hacking, Espiritu said.

WITH A REPORT FROM AFP

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