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By Sandy Araneta (The Philippine Star)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is pushing for the passage of the cybercrime bill that would address hacking and other crimes committed with the use of computers.
“It is high time the justice system utilize the range of electronic evidence to pin down criminals, be it online or in the physical world,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said before an international conference on cybercrime in Makati City where she stressed the emerging threat of this new breed of crime.
She said a cybercrime bill would prevent and combat information theft, computer system hacking and online human trafficking.
De Lima said a law on cybercrime would establish a legal framework to protect business firms and individuals from illegal or unauthorized access to their computer systems.
She said a cybercrime law would also allow the use of digital evidence in prosecution.
De Lima noted the call of the delegates during the forum on the need to draw up legislation against computer attacks.
The convention is the first international treaty to address computer and Internet crimes through the passage of national legislation, improving investigative techniques and increasing international cooperation.
Justice Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy cited the need of the country to come up with a law against cybercriminals, who usually operate in the Philippines to hack into computer systems abroad because of the absence of a law against computer crimes in the country.
“As more people get wired, incidents of cybercrime will increase exponentially as they have in the past several years. Our task is to ensure a safe and secure cyberspace,” Sy said.
The DOJ led groups that included the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), Zylogix Systems Corporation, Philippines Computer Emergency Response Team (PhCert), and Microsoft Philippines, in calling on Congress to enact a cybercrime bill.
The House of Representatives passed a similar proposal during the 14th Congress but it run out of time to have the bill passed in plenary.
Michael Wilks, director of Public Safety & National Security of Microsoft Asia Pacific, shared how private companies like Microsoft recognize the necessity of a law to provide a productive networking and Internet experience.
“We at Microsoft aim to support the Department of Justice in pushing for the well-studied cybercrime bill,” Wilks said.
A recent study by security software maker Norton said that 65 percent of global Internet users have fallen victim to cyber crimes, including computer viruses and identity theft.
Dr Mark Gasson, a cybernetics expert at the University of Reading, has had a computer chip implanted in his hand.
The chip is programmed to open security doors to his lab – and ensure only he is able to switch on and use his mobile phone.
But Dr Gasson deliberately infected the chip with a computer virus, which was then automatically transmitted to affect to the lab security system.
“Once the system is infected, anybody accessing the building with their passcard would be infected too,” he told Sky News.
The virus on his chip is benign. But malicious computer code could give criminals access to a building.
A British scientist has become the first human to be infected with a computer virus.
Dr Gasson says his experiment also exposes the vulnerability of chips now routinely implanted in patients.
Heart pacemakers contain mini-computers that control the heartbeat, and communicate with doctors via a special reader held against the skin.
But if a virus was transmitted to the device which stopped it working properly, the consequences for the patient could be fatal.
“The devices will have to start to use security encryption,” said Dr Gasson.
“Medical devices should have some kind of password protection as well. They’re basic security precautions. It’s surprising these devices don’t have them already.”