Foreign Hackers Pose Threat to Philippine Elections

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The Philippines Faces Growing Cybersecurity Risks in Elections

A recent threat assessment presentation has highlighted the increasing risk of cyberattacks from foreign groups in the Philippines, particularly during the upcoming elections. The presentation, which took place during the national security cluster communications of the “Bagong Pilipinas” media engagement and workshop, warned that cyberattacks are anticipated in the mid-term 2025 and 2028 national elections. These attacks have the potential to disrupt the peaceful and orderly conduct of the polls.

The threat assessment also emphasized the potential misuse of artificial intelligence (AI) as a destructive tool in the cognitive domain, which could have a divisive effect on public and social order during the election period. While the presentation did not directly identify the source of the cyberthreats, it noted that the challenges to the country’s cybersecurity defense domain will come from foreign adversaries.

These cyberattacks are considered a form of hybrid warfare and are expected to target the information and communications technology networks of both the national government and private entities. It is crucial for the Philippines to strengthen its cybersecurity measures to protect against these threats.

Recent Cyberattacks and the Need for Enhanced Defense

The threat assessment comes in the wake of several recent cyberattacks on government websites, believed to be orchestrated by Chinese hackers. In February, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) successfully foiled a cyberattack on various government email addresses, including those of the Philippine Coast Guard and even the private website of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Other targets included government Google Workspaces and web applications of different agencies.

These incidents highlight the urgent need for robust cybersecurity defenses. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has reassured the public that it has taken steps to protect the automated election system (AES) to be used in the 2025 elections against cyberattacks. COMELEC Chairman George Erwin Garcia emphasized that the hardware, software, and transmission features of the AES are designed to ensure protection against any cyberattack.

COMELEC spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco clarified that the AES is not connected to telecommunications providers during the voting and counting periods. The automated counting machine (ACM) and servers are only connected to the telcos at the point of transmission, which occurs after the voting and printing of the first eight election returns (ERs). This approach ensures that the digital results cannot be altered.

To further enhance transparency and verification, election stakeholders in voting precincts can use printed ERs to verify the transmitted ERs in real-time at the election results website, which will be available on election day.

Innovations in Voting Technology

As part of efforts to improve the voting process, a Korean technology provider, Miru Systems Co. Ltd., will be supplying voting machines for the upcoming midterm elections. In an interview with Lawyer Maria Liavel “Lia” Badillo-Crisostomo, Vice President of Miru’s Overseas Sales Department, Ken Cho, highlighted the company’s commitment to user-friendly features and accessibility.

The voting machines provided by Miru Systems will include a keypad that allows the blind to vote, making the process more inclusive. The machines also utilize a dual system that combines paper ballot scanning with touch-screen technology. This approach ensures accuracy and efficiency in the voting process.

In addition, Miru Systems plans to utilize internet voting technology to make voting more convenient for overseas Filipinos. This innovation aims to increase participation and engagement among overseas citizens, who play a significant role in the democratic process.


The growing risk of cyberattacks in the Philippines, particularly during elections, poses significant challenges to the country’s cybersecurity defense domain. The threat assessment has highlighted the need for enhanced measures to protect against foreign adversaries and the potential misuse of artificial intelligence.

Recent cyberattacks on government websites serve as a reminder of the urgency to strengthen cybersecurity defenses. The Commission on Elections has taken steps to protect the automated election system and ensure the integrity of the voting process.

Innovations in voting technology, such as those provided by Miru Systems, aim to improve accessibility and inclusivity in the electoral process. These advancements, coupled with robust cybersecurity measures, contribute to a more secure and transparent democratic system in the Philippines.

Source: The Manila Times

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