Comelec

Comelec validating report alleging data breach in its servers

Dwight de Leon
Comelec validating report alleging data breach in its servers
The Comelec, however, expresses doubt over the Manila Bulletin report's claim that certain data were downloaded by hackers, saying these are not yet available online
Comelec validating report alleging data breach in its servers

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is verifying a report that a group of hackers recently breached the poll body’s online servers and downloaded sensitive data that could potentially impact the 2022 polls.

A Manila Bulletin piece published on Monday, January 10, said that hackers were able to enter the Comelec’s system on Saturday, January 8, and downloaded 60 gigabytes’ worth of files that include usernames and personal identification numbers (PINS) of vote-counting machines, which will be used for the 2022 polls.

While the poll body is “validating” whether the Comelec’s systems have been indeed compromised, it expressed doubts about the claims made in the report.

“The fact, however, is that such information still does not exist in COMELEC systems simply because the configuration files – which includes usernames and PINs – have not yet been completed. This calls into question the veracity of the hacking claim,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a statement.

Jimenez also took note of the “scant substantiation” of the assertions made in the Manila Bulletin article, and invited the authors “to shed light on their allegations.”

“Moving forward, the Comelec assures the public of its full and scrupulous compliance with the Data Privacy Act, as well as its continuing cooperation with the National Privacy Commission,” Jimenez said.

“Considering that ‘news’ like this could potentially damage the credibility of the elections, the Comelec stands ready to pursue all available remedies against those who, either deliberately or otherwise, undermine the integrity of the electoral process,” he added.

Two months before the 2016 elections, the poll body also grappled with a major hacking incident, with hackers leaking a voter records database online.

The scandal, now known as “Comeleak,” is considered the biggest leak of personal data in Philippine history, and among the biggest breaches of a government-held database in the world. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.