By Alcuin Papa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA -- Computer crimes reported to police are on the rise, the
Philippine National Police said Saturday.
According to a briefing paper on cyber crimes prepared by the Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group, a total of 1,843 crimes involving
computers were reported to police in 2007. This is more than three times
the number of 527 reported in 2006.
A total of 2624 computer crimes were reported from 2003 to 2007. In
2005, only 161 crimes were reported to police. In 2004, the number was
56 and 37 in 2003.
Between 2004 and 2006, the PNPs cyber crime unit investigated 195 cases
requiring computer forensics.
The online crimes range from credit card fraud to pornography and
copyright infringement as well as other crimes defined in Republic Act
8792 or the E-Commerce Act and RA 8484 or the Access Devices Regulation
CIDG chief Raul Castaeda said they are going full blast on cyber crime.
We are really focusing on cyber crimes. We have to be prepared because
this is the wave of the future, Castaeda told the Inquirer.
The CIDGs efforts resulted in the conviction in 2005 of JJ Maria Giner,
the first conviction of a hacker in the country. Giner was convicted
under the E-Commerce Act for hacking into government websites.
Aside from that, the efforts have led to the disabling of 21 phishing
sites based in the country. Phishing is an attempt to fraudulently
obtain sensitive information like usernames, passwords and credit card
details for fraud with hackers trying to pass themselves off through
friendly and trustworthy electronic communication.
Also, computer and cell phone forensics were used in other cases like
the legal offensive against arrested members of the Communist Party of
the Philippines-New Peoples Army, the murder of former Abra Rep. Luis
Bersamin, the cases against Magdalo soldiers, the Batasan bombing as
well as other bombing incidents, and the Manila Peninsula siege.
Castaeda also revealed that training and procurement of equipment was
ongoing as part of their efforts to beef up their capabilities in
computer forensics and cyber crime investigation.
He noted that computer forensics as well as cell phone forensics were
becoming more vital in anti-terrorism and anti-criminality operations.
Castaeda also said efforts to fight cyber crime were mostly concentrated
in Metro Manila. But Castaeda said they will expand outside the National
Capital Region by putting up satellite units in Davao, Zamboanga, Cebu
and Baguio City.
At present, the CIDGs Computer Crime Unit has only nine operatives. But
of late, as many as 200 CIDG operatives have received training in
investigating cyber crimes.
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