By LUISA SANDOVAL
MANILA — Alternative online news Bulatlat is disappointed as the Department of Science and Technology chose not to divulge the government agency that runs the IP address where cyber-attacks against news websites have been traced.
“The IP Addresses leased to government agencies are funded by taxpayers, and the public have the right to know who are using these government infrastructure for censoring independent media outlets,” said Ronalyn Olea, managing editor of Bulatlat.
Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation has traced cyber-attacks to IP addresses belonging to the DOST and later a port found to be registered to an email address that uses the domain of the Philippine Army.
Apart from Bulatlat, websites of AlterMidya – People’s Media Network and human rights group Karapatan were also subjected to cyber-attacks, including vulnerability scans and pen tests.
In an interview with ANC, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Guevara confirmed that the said IP address indeed belongs to the DOST and is being used by another government agency.
“Any attack on any IP address that is malicious is not acceptable. However, we also believe that when we issue the IP address […] we assume that the agency to which we issue this address will do the protection necessary and will adhere to the standard and acceptable usage policies within the network,” Guevara said.
When asked about possibly naming what agency was under the traced IP address, Guevara chose not to disclose the said information, saying that they “would rather not put any added burden to the DICT in undertaking the investigation.”
Guevara said they have asked the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to conduct a “clinical investigation into the alleged attacks on media outlets.”
In its investigation, Qurium stated that it “found that the Marine Corps of the Philippines have their Scrollout F1 anti-spam mailserver inside of DOST, confirming the idea that military operates inside the IP space assigned to the Department of Science of Technology.”
Another certificate also showed OG2-PA, a military jargon for Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence and the Philippine Army.
“We would like to remind the DOST and the Philippine Army that attacking websites of media outlets is a crime, and constitutes a violation of press freedom,” Olea said.
Alternative news Kodao Productions and Northern Dispatch were also subjected to cyber-attacks.