The BPO industry in the Philippines is deeply worried about the possibility of becoming a victim of cyber thieves amid a wave of digital attacks exposing the country’s weak IT security system.
The nation’s IT/BPO sector earns more than US$30 billion annually. All of this money could be jeopardized if a massive cyberattack were to strike the industry, said the country’s outsourcing lobby group ITBAP.
The industry’s concerns stem from a series of recent cyberattacks on the country. The most shocking attack exposed thousands of pages of sensitive data from the country’s public healthcare system, which were published on social media.
The hacker responsible for the attack reportedly demanded a US$300,000 ransom from the state insurance company and made the data public after the agency refused to pay.
The government’s helplessness was made evident when another group of cybercriminals defaced the official website of the country’s elected representatives. Another cyber thief, who calls himself Phantom, claims to have stolen data from the websites of as many as five government agencies.
One of the most worrying attacks for the Filipino BPO sector involved hackers breaking into the country’s statistical department, an agency responsible for national identification cards.
“The IBPAP is deeply alarmed by these malicious acts, which not only jeopardize the operations of the IT-BPM industry but also the reputation of the Philippines as an attractive investment destination,” said IBPAP President Jack Madrid in a statement.