Comelec open to planned ‘hacking’ investigation, again denies data breach

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 18) — The Electoral Commission is ready to attend a congressional hearing to investigate the alleged hacking of its pre-election servers.

Talking to CNN Philippines The source On Tuesday, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that while they’re certain there’s no evidence of a data breach as proven so far by the National Bureau of Investigation, they understand other affected parties still want to know what really happened .

Jimenez said the immediate joint hearing of the Congressional Oversight Committee, which Senator Imee Marcos proposed in her recent Senate resolution, is a “good idea” to finally resolve the issue.

Marcos is the chair of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reform and Civic Participation.

“I think it is necessary for the comfort of the people who would be attending the oversight committee hearing. As far as Comelec is concerned, we’re pretty sure no hacking happened,” Jimenez said.

“We are grateful that the NBI is confirming this claim, but obviously there are stakeholders who want to hear the story of this alleged hacking. Partly for that reason, the Congressional Oversight Hearing should probably be a good idea,” he added.

Last week, a Manila Bulletin report revealed that on January 8, a group of hackers “were able to breach the Comelec’s servers” and download more than 60 gigabytes of data, including usernames and personal identification numbers. Concerns about a potential security leak just before the elections led to a more thorough investigation into the alleged incident.

But the survey panel has already denied that its systems were compromised. Jimenez even stressed that it is impossible to identify PINs because “it’s too early to generate them for elections”.

Citing Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, Jimenez added that their system is not “connected” to any network, which contradicts standard hacking practices that require remote access to get into the system.

The NBI previously went to the Comelec warehouse in Laguna for a site inspection amid reports of hacking. Jimenez said they would be meeting with bureau officials later in the day for more information on the matter.

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