BACOLOD CITY: The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will tap its Cybercrime Divison to investigate the hacking of official Facebook pages of government officials in Negros Occidental.
Renoir Baldovino, lawyer and NBI agent in charge, said they will need a formal request from the affected government officials so they can refer the crime to their national office.
The Facebook pages of Masskara Festival, Cadiz City Public Information Office, Team Javi Benitez, EB Magalona municipal government and Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Francisco Benitez were hacked in the past few days.
As of August 23, the accounts of Cadiz and of the two Benitezes had already been recovered.
“We cannot speculate on the possible motives behind the hacking of the social media accounts of public offices in Negros Occidental,” Baldovino said.
The Bacolod NBI office has cybercrime investigators but they will need the technical assistance of their Cybercrime Division in Manila, he added.
The first that was confirmed to have been hacked was that of the MassKara Festival Facebook page in Bacolod City on August 7.
These were followed this week by the hacking of the pages of Representative Benitez on August 21 and that of EB Magalona town that reported it on Tuesday, August 22.
All pages started to post Japanese porn movies.
All the pages were considered linked to Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez.
The MassKara Festival account was created last year under the term of Mayor Benitez.
Then before the page Representative Benitez was hacked, an alternate Facebook account of his son Victorias Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez was nearly taken over by hackers.
The mayor of EB Magalona, Marvin Magalona, is a close political ally of the Bacolod mayor.
Mary Jane Agonace, provincial director of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), said: “Public pages are really the targets of hackers, these are vulnerable. For DICT, we always remind the public to secure their accounts.” Agonace also said users must be mindful of the privacy settings that would allow them to secure their accounts and regularly check personal details such as registered email addresses and mobile phone numbers to ensure that these still belong to them.
“There may also be friends added or messages sent, but not by the user. Those are the signs that an account has unauthorized access. That’s the time the account owner or user should already update information, especially the change password,” she added.
Agonace said owners or users can report and seek investigation of the unauthorized access to the authorities under the Negros Occidental Provincial Cyber Response Team.
After regaining control of his official Facebook page, Benitez thanked the DICT, NBI-Western Visayas,and the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center for their dedication and prompt assistance.
He also thanked Meta Philippines Representative Office’s Public Policy Team in Manila for their efforts.