There has been reports regarding Chinese State-backed hackers attacking Philippines’ security. With the Chinese having a certain form of control over the Philippine infrastructure becoming more of a big thumb, including of the controversial deal between the Philippine military and Dito Telecommunity, a China-backed telco, in which the military allowed the telco to build cell sites in its camps and bases, along with the December report from Fox-IT that the hacking group linked to the Chinese government is still alive and kicking…  Philippines have fair reasons to be very worried for Chinese cyber-attack in Philippines, both outside and inside threats.

According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, it’s possible and easy for the Chinese nationals to shift their work to spying or espionage.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. also shared the same sentiments and worry, “Kung ako ang tatanungin mo bilang [If you ask me as] national security adviser, I have the tendency to look at it as a threat.”

Lawmakers have already called for an urgent review of overall Chinese influence in terms of infrastructure, gaming, telecommunications and power sectors.

What makes it more worrisome is just how much of a threat is this even for the US. In December 2018, two Chinese nationals were prosecuted for stealing volumes of intellectual property, security clearance details and other records from companies allegedly backed by China’s intelligence services.

However, aside from the prominently potential threat posed by China, hacking and other forms of cyber-attacks in general, are nothing new. In fact, it’s the most active, complex, wide-spread tug-of-war invisible from the naked eye. It’s been going on and on since the dawn of internet, or in its earliest age, the dawn of information and cryptography.

Kasperky's real-time cyber-attack map visuals indicates ongoing wars in the cyber-world.
Kasperky‘s real-time cyber-attack map visuals indicates ongoing wars in the cyber-world. The lines travelling across the continent to a specific country and vise-versa is the cyber tug-of-war, with color coding to indicate its severity of the cyber-attack.

What this implies is that there’s no way Philippines, still maturing in its cyber-security strategies, could ever prevent from being attacked, as it is essentially inevitable. What can Philippines do, however, is to further up their ante in terms of other response mechanisms.

In the vast network of countless information, there are three responses to cyber-attacks in its simplest, primeval form: avoid, defend, and counter-attack.

Where being attacked is inevitable, to know where the impending traps or dangers lay and avoiding them all together is wise for the Philippines. In fact, they shouldn’t have taken any slightest chance of compromising Philippine security over Chinese nationals. But as there are such times for necessary evil, a great amount of caution or restraint must’ve been imposed. The military deal with Dito Telco don’t cut well as the leading model for caution.

The other two mentioned responses are quite obvious. To fortify our defense and counter-attack systems, great nurture and investment costs are required. Needless to say, it is high-time the government should focus on establishing better security, not only through military and armaments, but also through technology and cyber network.

So far in 2017 Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) report, Philippines was ranked 39th in a list of 193th countries based on technical, legal, regulatory and cultural as well as organizational aspects. Yes, we’ve been progressing, but achieving betterment never ends.

Philippine being cautious of such threats in our cyber-security actually promotes positive awareness, not only against China but from local or outside threats.

After all, in this day and age, the new ‘money’ is ‘data’. And data is power.