DICT’s Allan Cabanlong shares Philippines’ cybersecurity game plan

DICT’s Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Enabling Technologies talked about the initiatives the Philippines will be taking to strengthen its cyber defences at the Computerworld Philippines Security Summit 2017.

By Adrian M. Reodique
April 28, 2017

DICT Allan Cabanlong
Allan Cabanlong, DICT's Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Enabling Technologies, speaking at the Computerworld Philippines Security Summit 2017.

More than half of the Philippine population (58 percent) are already connected to the internet. This is above the global internet penetration average of 50 percent, according to the 'Digital in 2017 Global Overview' study by social media consultancy We Are Social, and social media management platform Hootsuite. Filipinos were also found to be spending the most time online globally, with an average of almost nine hours every day.

This increasing access to internet presents an opportunity for cyber criminals.

"Because of the pervasiveness of the internet, we nowadays find ourselves in a situation where cybercrimes are becoming more advanced, destructive and sophisticated," said Allan Cabanlong, Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Enabling Technologies at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). He was speaking at the third Computerworld Philippines Security Summit in Manila last Tuesday (25 April 2017).

Alarmingly, Philippines' cybersecurity maturity is still at the infancy stage as compared to other countries.

Citing the Cybersecurity Maturity Model of the U.S. Department of Defence, Cabanlong said the Philippines is still in the Reactive and Manual phase, and the Tools-based phase. A country under the Reactive and Manual phase is primarily concerned about eliminating cyber threats, rather than finding the cause of the threats and preventing them from spreading. As for a country in the Tools-based phase, it only provides tools and technologies to assist people in reacting faster to cyber threats.

"To adapt to the changing [cybersecurity] landscape, DICT and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Centre (CICC) crafted the National Cybersecurity Plan of 2022, which incorporates the strategies, programmes, and imperatives that the government need your help to undertake in order to create a cyber safe Philippines," said Cabanlong.

Drafted last December, the final version of the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 will be officially launched next Tuesday (2 May 2017).

The plan aims to enable the Philippines to become a cyber resilient nation, wherein it is predictive and mission-focused, as well as capable of isolating and containing damage. The country should also be able to secure supply chains, and protect critical infrastructures from cyberattacks.

As such, the four key strategic imperatives of the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022 are: the protection of critical infostructure (CII), protection of government networks, protection of business and supply chains, and protection of individuals.


Strengthening the protection of critical infostructures

According to Kaspersky Lab's Industrial CyberThreats Real Time Map, Philippines is the 46th most targeted country globally by Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and critical infrastructure attackers.

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