From Scarborough, to cyberspace

On April 8, 2012, a Philippine Navy surveillance aircraft monitored eight Chinese fishing vessels anchored inside the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

In the morning of 10 April 2012,  BRP Gregorio del Pilar dispatched a boarding team to inspect the fishing vessels and collect  evidence of their catch.   The inspection team reported that large amounts of illegally collected corals, giant clams and live sharks were found inside the compartments of the first fishing vessel that was boarded by the PH Navy team.

The BRP Gregorio del Pilar later reported  that two Chinese surveillance ships managed to sail at the mouth of the Shoal, placing themselves between BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the eight Chinese fishing vessels, thus preventing the arrest of the erring  Chinese fishermen.

Thus began the standoff between the Chinese and Philippine Navy.

And as the standoff remain in the open sea, it has also gone online as hackers apparently from China defaced the official web site of the University of the Philippines on Friday, April 20.

The hackers brought down the State U’s site claiming, “Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) is Ours!”

The website was temporarily brought down with a downtime notice. But it was back online right away on Saturday, April 21.

Well, the Philippine Navy may be no match for the Chinese military, but the cyberspace is an even battleground.  Filipino hackers retaliated and defaced some Chinese websites on Sunday. (Go, Pinoy hackers!)

By Sunday morning, hackers defaced the Chinese government website gh.rc.gov.cn. Images of the Philippine map and flag with text asserting that the Spratlys are owned by the Philippines were posted.

The Chinese University Media Union, ploft.cn, got the same fate. Texts “STFU Chinese government is clearly retarded Scarborough Shoal is ours!” appeared on the front page.

Other attacked Chinese websites were  star.chinaumu.org, v.cyol.com, sanxinsudi.com, ryjzw.com, lanseyinxiang.com.

I wondered what was next. True enough, this afternoon, the Official Gazette www.gov.ph, and two other sites run by the President Aquino’s Communications team - www.pcdspo.gov.ph and www.malacanang.gov.ph - experienced “significant spike in traffic with malicious URL requests”.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, “We determined that this was a denial-of-service attack. Information gathered through our data analysis indicated that the attack originated from IP  addresses were assigned to Chinese networks.”

A DDOS attack is an attempt to make a computer or network resource unavailable to its intended users. This is done by flooding a server with more network traffic than it can handle. Such attacks usually lead to a server overload.

The attack caused a “temporary disruption of service,” the statement added.

Well, there you go. I wonder what’s going to be the end. I guess we just have to stay tuned.

And, now’s a good time to check our sites’ security.

 

 

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