PH Army behind cyber-attacks on two alternative media outlets, DICT unit confirms

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24) — Two alternative media outfits said a unit under the Department of Information and Communications Technology has confirmed that the cyber-attacks on their websites were linked to the Philippine Army.

Bulatlat and Altermidya, in a joint statement on Thursday, said Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-PH) reported that the attacks originated from the internet protocol (IP) address assigned to the Philippine Army.

“CERT-PH called DOST and confirmed the IP was assigned to the Philippine Army. This IP was also seen in the provided log file by Bulatlat/Altermidya which is 202.90.137[.].42," the groups said on Thursday. CNN Philippines is seeking confirmation from DICT.

The statement added, “CERT-PH noted the 2182 lines of logs with destination bulatlat.com from the IP 202.90.137[.].42 which was submitted by the investigation requester."

This was similar to the report of Swedish digital forensics group Qurium that “brief but frequent” distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against the two websites. DDOS attacks intend to overwhelm a target website with fake traffic, making it inaccessible to users.

Bulatlat and Altermidya condemned the Army for carrying out these types of cybercrimes against independent media outfits, saying it does not adhere to its claims of respecting press freedom.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Ramon Zagala denied the allegations of cyber-attack, saying this was merely a "surfing activity."

"The Philippine Army denies the cyber-attack allegations. The activity of an account detected with IP address assigned to the Philippine Army was not a form of any cyber-attack but rather a surfing activity, which any internet user can legally do," he said in a statement.