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Philippines Investigates Hacks Of Multiple Government Sites

Political motives suspected in defacement of high-profile sites
Officials in the Philippines are investigating a series of incidents in which five different government Websites were hacked in less than a month.

According to news reports, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has asked the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) to submit its report and recommendations regarding the incidents as soon as possible, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said.

The hacks were announced a day after the Website of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was defaced at least twice in a single day, according to the reports. In the latest attack, TESDA's Website visitors were redirected to the corporate Website of Smartmatic, the company that has been contracted to build and supply poll machines for the country's first automated elections.

In an earlier attack, the Tesda Website showed clip art of a man with a rude hand gesture, along with a message in memory of Kemberly Jul Luna, who was killed in an encounter with government troops in Mindanao last December.

The CICT report should identify those responsible for hacking government Websites, their motives, and recommendations to prevent such incidents in the future, Remonde said.

Last week, the online site of the Philippines' Department of Labor and Employment was also vandalized, greeting visitors with Arabic messages. Foul remarks were also found in the site's "Secretary's Corner," a section that featured messages of Labor chief Marianito Roque.

On December 30 and January 4, the Websites of the Philippines' National Disaster Coordinating Council and of the Department of Social Welfare and Development were also hacked. The series of hacking incidents began in December, after the Department of Health Website was defaced.

An unidentified blogger raised the possibility that the next hack attack may take place on Jan. 13.

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