Senator seeks probe into reported data breach at OSG –


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( - May 6, 2021 - 3: 33pm

MANILA, Philippines — A senator on Thursday urged the Senate to launch an inquiry into the alleged exposure of 345,000 sensitive files through a data breach at the Office of the Solicitor General. 

London-based security firm TurgenSec in an April 30 statement said it learned of a “publicly accessible data store” from the OSG in March. The company, which runs a website tracking data breaches, said they emailed the office and the Philippine government twice in March and by April 28, the breach had been closed.

The OSG has said that it is still verifying the report. 

Alarmed by the reported breach, Sen. Leila De Lima, a former justice secretary, said the OSG should disclose to senators the extent of the damage caused and the litigants compromised. 

The senator filed Senate Resolution 713 calling for hearings on the reported data breach.

She warned that "the far-reaching ramifications of this breach could lead to greatly influencing ongoing court cases, and may even lead to the information being used to identify witnesses or attempt to intimidate victims." 

 “The OSG must ‘publicly outline the extent of the information exposed and breached, and what steps are being taken to ensure this cannot happen again,’” De Lima said, quoting TurgenSec. “The exposure of information of a particularly highly sensitive nature must not be ignored.”

'Recalibration of cybersecurity policy needed' 

De Lima further said that no less than National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. exposed the country's vulnerability to cyberattacks when he told the Senate in December 2020 that the country has no "operations center" to defend against such attacks on a national level.  

She also cited the reported hacking of several government agency websites last April 2019, including the database of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that contained basic information of up to 20,000 military personnel. 

"[T]here is a need to urgently address the persisting vulnerabilities of our cyber-security infrastructures and expeditiously put in place policies and safeguards to protect our citizens and institutions from assaults and exploitation of hackers and criminals." 

— Bella Perez-Rubio with a report from Kristine Joy Patag 

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