PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said the government is set to come out with a comprehensive assessment of the country’s existing cyber threats next year.
Speaking at a forum organized by the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii last Monday, the chief executive announced plans to convene the inaugural interagency Philippines (PH)-United States (US) Cyber Dialogue in early 2024.
The review, he said, will be used by both governments to “enhance cooperation” to combat emerging cyber threats.
“We anticipate many areas where the US, as a leader in innovation and emerging technology, can also be our major partner,” Marcos said.
“Our cooperation on cybersecurity is also a priority, as it impacts both national and economic security. Critical infrastructure, whether with respect to ports, to energy, telecommunications, they will require cybersecurity measures to be in place for the country to be resilient,” he added.
The cyber dialogue is among the series of Philippines-US activities to be held next year, which includes the country’s hosting of the first high-level US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission and the 2024 Indo-Pacific Business Forum.
Earlier this year, Kaspersky Security Network issued a report which showed the country was the second country with the most cyber attacks in 2022 after Mongolia.
Among the cyber threats identified by Kaspersky were worms and file viruses, drive-by downloads or the unintentional downloading of malicious code, and engineering attack or malware, which appears to be a legitimate program.
The Department of Information and Communications (DICT) said the country suffered 3,000 “high level cyberattacks” from 2020 to 2022.
In the same period, it also monitored 54,000 cyber threats.
Last month, several government websites suffered from cyber attacks including those of the House of Representatives, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
Concerned about the potential implications on national security by such cyber attacks, Marcos ordered the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) to protect the country from such threats.
Image credits: AP Photo/Elise Amendola