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COMELEC dismisses ‘hacking’ rumors, tags it as ‘fake news’

Sheriff Abas, Chairman of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), denied reports that the poll body’s system had been hacked, exposing critical voter information.

On Jan. 10, the Manila Bulletin (MB) reported that a group of hackers had compromised Comelec’s servers and were able to download more than 60 terabytes of data, potentially affecting the May 2022 elections.

Abas, in an interview with CNN Philippines, said it was “impossible” to hack information that didn’t exist. He stated that he immediately phoned the director of the Information and Technology (IT) department after receiving the Manila Bulletin article on Jan. 10 to review their systems to see whether there had been a breach.

“After an hour, bumalik sa akin, at sinabing niyang ‘sir medyo negative, mukhang fake news yung balita’,” Abas said.

“It’s because wala pa naman po tayong final na data para i-configure. Kasi January 15 pa kami mag-configure ng mga data namin na ipapasok sa system ng Vote Counting Machine. So sa ngayon sure ako na walang hacking na nangyari,” he added.

RELATED STORY: Marcos Jr.’s camp raises worries over alleged hacking of Comelec server

The hackers allegedly infiltrated the system on Saturday, Jan. 8, according to MB’s Technews team, and downloaded data that included usernames and PINS VCMs, among other things.

Abas asserted that no information had been uploaded to the Comelec system. He added that the information should have been verified with them before being released.

“Kung sinabi nilang hinack nila nung Sabado that was January 8 so wala pang any information na naupload sa aming system. Kasi doon ka palang magkakaroon ng pin numbers at passwords kapag nalagay na sa system ng VCM. Nalulungkot lang din kami it’s because napakadaling mag-accuse pero ang impact kasi nun napakalaki kaya ngayon yung pakiusap namin sa mga media partners na bago sila sumulat o magpahayag ng ganyang klaseng information i-validate muna nila sa amin. Kasi di nila naiisip yung lawak o yung impact ng ganung klaseng report,” he added.

On Jan. 11, Art Samaniego Jr., MB’s Technology Editor and IT Head, stated on his verified Facebook account that his team had attempted to contact Comelec but had been “ghosted.”

The report was labeled “false news” by Abas. Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon shared the same sentiment in a tweet on Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Staff Report

The Filipino Times is the chronicler of stories for, of and by Filipinos all over the world, reaching more than 236 countries in readership. Any interesting story to share? Email us at [email protected]

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