MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – This is not your ordinary press release.
Hackers claiming to be part of “Anonymous Philippines” defaced the website of the Office of the Ombudsman on Sunday, November 3.
As of 10am Sunday, the hacker’s message could be seen not on the website’s home page but under the page for the Ombudsman’s press releases.
In the “press release,” Anonymous Philippines warned of an event that will occur on November 5. The group said followers will gather in various locations worldwide for the “Million Mask March” against oppression and tyranny.
(Ed’s note: We earlier said the march is a homage to the “Million People March” in Luneta. We apologize for the error.)
The message read:
“The government, in many ways, has failed its Filipino citizens. We have been deprived of things which they have promised to give; what our late heroes have promised us to give. Let us remind the government that fairness, justice and freedom are more than words. They are perspectives.
It added: “A march is happening, a revolution. A way to speak, a way to be heard. On the fifth day of November, 2013, we will try to be a party of history,” the message read.
But the Ombudsman was not the only victim. At least 37 other government websites were hacked. The group posted the initial list on its Facebook account.
Roy Espiritu, communications head of the science department’s Information and Communications Technology Office, said authorities are in the process of tracking down the hackers.
“There is forensic work being done on our end to find out who did this because it is still a crime,” Espiritu said, adding that those who deface government websites could face up to 6 months in prison.
But Espiritu also admitted it would be difficult to secure websites from hacking since government agencies maintain individual websites with no uniform standards.
In one post, Anonymous Philippines said authorities can expect more websites to be hacked.
Here’s the list of websites hacked by the group as of 12:41 pm Sunday:
The hacking comes in the midst of controversies over the alleged misuse of billions worth of lawmakers funds known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund and questions regarding the constitutionality of the executive branch’s Disbursement Acceleration Program.
The Ombudsman, in charge of probing and prosecuting erring public officials, is presently investigating the plunder charges filed by the Department of Justice against 38 individuals allegedly involved in the pork barrel scam. – with Agence France-Presse, Angela Casauay/Rappler.com