Things you need to know about cybercrime

By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata

MANILA, Oct 25 (PNA) — The fact that you’re reading means you are online. In a week, you probably spend a number of hours in front of a computer or device, using the internet.

These days, people are “connected”. More and more people gain easy access to the internet. Some establishments, like malls and hotels, offer free wi-fi connectivity. In other countries, wi-fi is free in almost all public places. In the Philippines, the government is already working on giving every Juan free public wi-fi, and this was already rolled out in some areas.

Since the worldwide web can be accessed by anyone at any time, then the more we must be mindful not to become victims of cybercrime.

Any crime that involves a computer and a network is considered cybercrime. As such, the offender has a lot of platforms such as emails, social networking sites, chat rooms, and many more.

Hacking may be one of the forms of cybercrime that people have experienced. When a person hacks your computer or your internet account, he/she might use it in illegal activities. Furthermore, the person might get your personal details and use these information for some transactions.

Have received emails that went to the “Spam” folder. Some Spam email were intended to get information and also attempt to load malicious code to one’s computer to enlist the owner in a scam, for instance.

In the Philippines, the government recognized the need to protect its people. A Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) was created. This is headed by the executive director of the Department of Science and Technology – Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) as chairperson; the director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) as vice chairperson; the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief; head of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Cybercrime and one representative from the private sector and academe, as members.

Based on Republic Act 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012), the CICC was tasked to:

(a) formulate a national cyber security plan and extend immediate assistance for the suppression of real-time commission of cybercrime offenses through a computer emergency response team (CERT)

(b) coordinate the preparation of appropriate and effective measures to prevent and suppress cybercrime activities as provided for in R.A. 10175

(c) monitor cybercrime cases being bandied by participating law enforcement and prosecution agencies

(d) facilitate international cooperation on intelligence, investigations, training and capacity building related to cybercrime prevention, suppression and prosecution

(e) coordinate the support and participation of the business sector, local government units and nongovernment organizations in cybercrime prevention programs and other related projects

(f) recommend the enactment of appropriate laws, issuances, measures and policies

(g) call upon any government agency to render assistance in the accomplishment of the CICC’s mandated tasks and functions

(h) perform all other matters related to cybercrime prevention and suppression, including capacity building and such other functions and duties as may be necessary for the proper implementation of R.A. 10175.

Just last August, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the R.A. 10175 was signed by high-ranking officials of DOST, DOJ and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The government noted that it is its mandate to ensure all crimes should not go unpunished. “Wherever cyber criminals may be found, the full force of the law must apply,” said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Through the DILG and PNP’s commitment to enforce the provisions in the Cybercrime Law and its IRR, Filipinos are now more protected against identity theft and fraud, computer-related forgery, illegal access to their computer accounts, cybersex, online libel, among others.

For its part, the DOST, through Secretary Mario Montejo, cited that the agency has a shared responsibility with the DOJ and DILG is keeping the cyberspace safe for every Juan, not just for the government and businesses.

The IRR, thus, is a clear manifestation of the government’s effort to ensure that the rule of law extends to cyberspace. Law enforcement will definitely apply to those who abuse the technology.

To protect yourself, meanwhile, from cyber threats, installing anti-virus in your computer/device might be very helpful. Also, be very careful about the things you share online.

There were many cases reported wherein cyber criminals used the information shared in online media. As the cliché goes, “it’s better to be safe than sorry”. (PNA)