[Mirror] Chua, Gladys Kaye

Summer 2012


Hacktivism on a Philippine Website

In the recent months, we have witnessed the tension between China and the Philippines because the Philippines have challenged China’s claim of exclusive rights and sovereignty over the Spratlys. And now just weeks after the controversy of the claim of sovereignty over the Spratly Islands by 7 countries including the China and Philippines, a new controversy arose between the two countries being mentioned involving the claim of exclusive rights and sovereignty over the Scarborough Shoal.

This recent controversy has erupted when the website of University of the Philippines have been defaced by “Chinese” hackers to assert their country’s claim over the Scarborough Shoal. The Philippines has based their claim on its proximity and the principle of terra nullius, which holds that it was previously unclaimed by a sovereign state, which is also applied by the Philippines in its claims to the Spratly Islands. On the other hand, the Chinese base their claim that the shoal was first mapped in the Yuan Dynasty and was historically used by Chinese fishermen. [1] But amidst all this claim of sovereignty and exclusive rights over Scarborough Shoal, what really alarmed the nation was the defacing of the UP website by “Chinese” hackers. The defacing done on UP website sent a surge of panic to the nation for fear of unauthorized access by the hackers in other Philippine websites such as defacing a site, vandalize, launch computer attacks, steal financial and personal information or place malicious software. This fear of hacktivism is known widely as many has been a victim of this cybercrime.

Hacktivism is the using of computers to further a political cause. This is what happened to the UP website, but these hacktivist – most notably Anonymous are very hard to track which makes it doubly hard for the authorities to arrest anyone for the crime done.

In our country, we have the E-commerce Law or the R.A. 8792, which recognizes the vital role of information and communication technology in nation building and as well as it penalizes the acts of hacking or crackling in any computer system. In the said law it provides that, “…a. Hacking or cracking which refers to unauthorized access into or interference in a computer system/server or information and communication system; or any access in order to corrupt, alter, steal, or destroy using a computer or other similar information and communication devices, without the knowledge and consent of the owner of the computer or information and communications system, including the introduction of computer viruses and the like, resulting in the corruption, destruction, alteration, theft or loss of electronic data messages or electronic document shall be punished by a minimum fine of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) and a maximum commensurate to the damage incurred and a mandatory imprisonment of six (6) months to three (3) years…” Since we have such law passed, will this be sufficient enough to make these hackers liable for defacing Philippine websites?

In my opinion, I think this law will not be sufficient enough to hold these “Chinese” hackers liable for the crime done. There have been multiple attempts by our government to stop cyber crimes such as hacking but none have completely succeeded. As said by Phil Lieberman, president of Lieberman Software, “Law enforcement’s efforts have had little real effect on curbing hacktivism since it operates at a scale of anonymity and ease that current governments and their law are incapable of comprehensively acting on.” Hacktivism, he adds, is on the increase as the world becomes more and more connected, with a proportional number of weakly secured systems for available exploitation. [2]

These “Chinese” hackers are anonymous. They are a leaderless group of faceless individuals without geographic borders and they can attack your computer system anytime and without any warning. Will our government be able to stop such crime? I guess such is not possible. These hackers can’t be stopped, and they know it. We can arrest group members but that wouldn’t stop other groups who share the same belief by doing the same thing by the ones who got arrested.
In the current milieu we are in, all we can do is to contain such crime. The first and foremost thing to do is to protect ourselves from any cybercrime, by incorporating into our computer system, a layer of defense which means that, our system doesn’t rely only on a single form o f protection but allows multiple layer of security against your data. This is one way of preventing the many attacks deployed by hacktivists.

Sad to say that our laws on hand are not enough to put a stop to such cybercrime and that all we can do is to keep our computer systems protected with layers of defense with the hope that it will hold such attack of hacking or cracking.


Endnotes

[1] http://nethelper.com/article/Scarborough_Shoal

[2] http://www.scmagazine.com/hacktivism-endures/article/228649/2/


Social Networking Sites: Can they be the basis for hiring?

In today’s world, most people are into social networking sites and they are on the top list on what is in trend. A social network is any online service or website that links people together on the basis of shared interests, backgrounds, or knowing each other in real life. The starting point for joining a social network is to create a profile so that other people can see who you are and what interests or backgrounds you might share with them. These sites also allow their users to share ideas, activities, events, and interests with people connected to via their networks. [1]

Recently, many articles have been published whether employers should use social networking sites as basis for hiring. Many have agreed and many have disagreed. The internet have made such a change to our lives; it has made our private lives public and any information we posts on these social networks are now like a permanent record where anyone can see. But the real question is, is it fair for employers to look into your profiles in several of social networking sites and make it its basis for hiring?

Our profiles in social networking sites shouldn’t be the basis for hiring an applicant. A public profile is our way of interacting with other people in our leisure time. It is an informal setting where we express our ideas and where we vent out our happiness, opinions, anger, frustrations and any emotion that we feel of the moment. Expressing our ideas and thoughts in our public profiles is one way of exercising our right to freedom of speech endowed to us by the Constitution.

If a person is to be judged on the basis of what they have posted on their profiles then such judgment is discriminatory. For an employer to use what they have read or seen on a social network about an applicant seeking for employment is unfair and absurd, as one character cannot be seen and proved by just reading some persons post on their social networking page. If one should be socially judged for employment, then wouldn’t it be just fair for such applicant to be given the chance to explain themselves?

An employer has no right to judge an applicant based on its social pages. It is a personal thing and it does not involve any relation to work as this is something done in a person’s free time and for enjoyment. It is every person’s right to freedom of speech as to what they post on their social network pages and such cannot be the basis of employment.


Endnotes

[1] http://www.dragonblogger.com/social-networks-connected/

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