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National Cyber Drill to Strengthen Philippine Cybersecurity Landscape

The Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) Cybersecurity Bureau had recently announced a National Cyber Drill Exercise that will be taking place, aimed at raising public awareness about cybersecurity and measuring the public’s ability to protect themselves from cyber threats and cyberattacks.

The two-day exercise will involve several activities aimed at assessing and improving the incident response skills of participating organisations and individuals to mitigate cybersecurity threats. The first drill, which will take place on the first day of the two-day event, will be open to the public of all ages and backgrounds. The main goal of this activity is to have the public more involved in cybersecurity so that they can gain a better awareness of it as a public concern.

The second half, on the other hand, will be tailored to individuals and organisations with past cybersecurity experience. The drill will involve simulations of cyberattacks and IT security incidents, as in past years, to evaluate the participants’ readiness and capacities to respond to a variety of risks and threats.

OpenGov Asia reported that as the technical and electronic landscape changes in the Philippines, there is a need to enact new laws or amend existing ones to fully address cyber threats. With cybercrime being one of the most immediate threats to businesses today, one of the effective yet little-known methods for countering their attacks is the use of a white hat or ethical hackers.

A group of ethical hackers in the Philippines where leaders in the field and knowledge partners from the private sector, sat down and discussed various issues concerning cybersecurity in the Philippines as seen through the eyes of white hat hackers. During the discussion, Philippine cyber security experts mentioned that the pandemic’s changes in the working environment have kept cybersecurity experts, IT professionals, and white hat hackers at the forefront of countering digital threats to avoid business disruptions.

The Convenor of Digital Pilipinas noted that as the Philippines emerges as an emerging player in FinTech in the ASEAN region, “the need to build the country’s cyber posture is becoming more important,” and that cybersecurity experts, in collaboration with the government and private sector, will play an increasingly important role in bringing the Philippines to its rightful place as a digital leader. As a result, Digital Pilipinas is empowering platforms to address such emerging trends and challenges.

In addition, a report stated that the country also needs to train new cybersecurity experts and upskill current practitioners as threats escalate and expertise remains “disproportionately inadequate.

The rapid advancement of information and communication technology (ICT) has affected every way of life dramatically. Critical functions of industries and industrial control systems are becoming increasingly reliant on these technologies. The National Cybersecurity Strategy Framework, developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology and its affiliated agency, the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC), adapts to the new paradigm.

The Framework’s implementation will enable the adoption and implementation of Information Security Governance and Risk Management methodologies to be institutionalised. These internationally acknowledged standards will offer the government a rigorous and systematic approach to safeguarding the security of our mission-critical and non-critical information infrastructure. The government will form the National Computer Emergency Reaction Team to improve its capability and capacity for swift response and recovery (NCERT).

In aspects of cybersecurity, the DICT is responsible for ensuring individuals’ rights to privacy and confidentiality of their personal information; ensuring the security of critical ICT infrastructures, including government, individual, and business information assets; and providing oversight over agencies governing and regulating the ICT sector to ensure consumer protection and welfare, data privacy and security, competition, and the sector’s growth.

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