In what seems to be the largest cyber-attack that the Government of Philippines has faced, a massive data of 55 million voters of the country has been leaked online. The incident occurred when the website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was hacked by what the government claims is a white hat hacker.
It is believed that the name of the hacker is Paul Biteng, a recent IT graduate who is in his early 20’s. It is alsobeen reported that Paul Biteng has helped Microsoft and Facebook find vulnerabilities for which he has been commended by both the companies. After his arrest, Microsoft has not yet confirmed whether he is the same Paul Biteng or another person.
The hacking incident led to the defacement of the Comelec’s website. Initially, on 27th March it was claimed by the hackers that they are a part of Anonymous Philippines, a hacktivist group. However, later a group called LulzSecPilipinas released the information on the 55 million voters on the internet. The data contains details such as names, passport numbers and even the fingerprints of the voters.
The investigation by the NBI or the National Bureau of Investigation led to the arrest of the white hat hacker Paul Biteng from his home and even a computer was seized in the raid on his residence. The computer is being checked to see if it has any sensitive data that was hacked from the government website.
It is also not yet confirmed whether Paul Biteng has ever been involved previously in any other such attacks on the government agencies. However, only further investigation will reveal if any such instance has occurred in the past and also the magnitude of the damage done by the current hacking incident.
In a statement released by Ronald Aguto, the cyber squad chief of the NBI has stated that the attack involves two more hackers who are currently being tracked by them.