DICT expected to release results of Smartmatic system, polls watchdog says

Photo from INQUIRER.net file

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is expected to release its findings on the “compromised features” of Smartmatic’s system to allay fears about the integrity of the May 9 election, according to the dog guard polls Kontra Daya.

Kontra Daya official Danilo Arao said there was cause for concern even though the Electoral Commission (Comelec) said the findings of the DICT’s Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center (CICC) would have no impact on the elections.

Appearing before a congressional oversight committee on Friday, CICC chief Cezar Mancao II denied claims that Comelec’s system had been hacked and instead said it was Smartmatic’s system that had been compromised.

However, the head of the CICC only developed his assessment behind closed doors and no information on the Smartmatic system was released, which sparked public speculation.

Arao noted that saying a system is “compromised” could mean anything from vote counting to canvassing to forwarding statements, and Comelec should be more open to assuage public fears.

“We understand that there may be aspects of the issue that would be very sensitive, but people should have a general idea of ​​what the compromise means and what aspects of Smartmatic’s operations should be addressed,” Arao said during of a telephone interview. .

“The public will only be satisfied if there is complete transparency when it comes to explaining the problem and what will be done,” he said.

Arao warned that some individuals or groups could exploit these issues to demand the postponement of the May elections.

“It’s unacceptable,” he said.

Extortion purposes

But presidential hopeful Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed on Saturday that his cybersecurity team at Comelec had also discovered that the Smartmatic system was indeed compromised, possibly for extortion purposes.

According to Lacson, each political party has representatives at Comelec to ensure the credibility of the elections and he has asked his team to investigate the reported hacking of Comelec’s servers.

“The Nationalist Popular Coalition, the National Unity Party and the Partido Reporma have banded together,” Lacson said in a radio interview. “We have hired cybersecurity experts.”

“When [Comelec] said there was no hack, my tech team told me there was indeed hack because there was a schematic. I think the first incident they saw was November 2021,” Lacson said.

But the servers that were hacked were those of Smartmatic and not Comelec, and it may have been done to extort the electoral system contractor.

“The hackers wanted to extort Smartmatic and scare them away,” Lacson said, adding that they were still validating the real motive.

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About Shirley L. Kreger

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