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House of Representatives confirms official website experienced 'unauthorized access'

By Brooke Villanueva Published Oct 15, 2023 2:06 pm

The House of Representatives confirmed its official website experienced "unauthorized access" on Sunday, Oct. 15, adding that "immediate steps" have been taken to address the matter.

In a statement, HOR secretary-general Reginald Velasco said that they are now investigating what happened with the help of the Department of Information and Communications Technology as well as other law enforcement agencies.

"While we work to restore the website fully, we ask for patience and understanding," he emphasized.

"We are committed to ensure the security and integrity of our digital platforms, and we will implement additional measures to prevent such accidents in the future," added Velasco.

For now, the House advised the public "to be cautious of any suspicious emails of communications" that claim to be from them.

"We will keep the public updated as more information becomes available," Velasco said.

The HOR website was defaced earlier in the day with a "You've been hacked" meme as well as a message that read: "Happy April Fullz kahit October pa lang!"

The note also stated that it was hacked by a certain "~3MUSKETEERZ."

The website is inaccessible, as of writing.

This is the latest cybersecurity incident involving a government agency.

In late September, a group called Medusa stole the personal information of the beneficiaries of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), holding it for a $300,000 (P17 million) ransom. Some of the data worth 734 GB—which include name, address, birthday, sex, mobile number, and identification number—were reportedly released on the dark web.

A week later, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Philippine National Police Forensic Group fell victim though there was no demand for ransom.