Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Philippine Officials Should Act Against Cybercrime

Last night, I read a tweet from GMANews that there is a proposal to the Senate that laptops should be registered by the users in order to prevent cybercrimes. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) wants every laptop, SIM cards, and other devices used to connect to the Internet to be regulated. I'll go direct to the point: (Excuse me in advance.) This is plainly stupid. I doubt NBI has look upon this issue very well. If they think they had, well they really haven't.
"I think that there is a need for us to have a separate legislations altogether to regulate laptops, SIM cards, and every other storage devices," says Palmer Mallari, NBI Chief Technical Intelligence Division.
Let me explain to you their side. 

They suggested that most cybercrimes wouldn't be commited on those who connect on the Internet by their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) because it's traceable. Therefore, the criminals would target a wireless setup like a Wi-Fi zone to commit crimes online because most areas with Wi-Fi have the same IP address, thus making it too hard to trace who's the culprit.

And so they plan to register laptops using their MAC addresses, which is unique to every computing device, so the criminals could be easily tracked down.

Holes and drawbacks.

It's so much of a work to the citizens' side. If they think there is a need to register these devices, I think there is really no need.

Criminals will find a way to do their crimes. With just a little research, I already acquired alternatives assuming I'm on the criminal's side.

  • First, MAC addresses can be manipulated
  • Second, I can build my own pc if I really want to.
  • Third, if I plan to make millions out of cybercrimes, I don't mind purchasing two or more laptops.
  • I also don't mind stealing registered laptops and use it to commit crimes.
If you remembered eleven years ago, two Filipino computer programming students unleashed the most damaging virus in history - the ILOVEYOU virus. That was on May 2000. Two months after that, the E-commerce Act (RA 8792) was enacted.

Here's the Section 33 of the E-Commerce Act:
Click to enlarge.
The reason why the ILOVEYOU became the most damaging virus is not by the programming (it's just VBscript), but because the world was not prepared for that kind of attack which used social engineering and Microsoft systems' vulnerability as the main weapon.

Since there were no laws concerning this type of crime, the E-Commerce act was born. However, Internet fraud was not included. Thus, resulting to another threat in internet security concerning privacy and/or confidential data. Watch this video (On Call via GMANews) about victims of fake Facebook accounts

There is another proposal. Lately, the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) identified the need for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) regarding the issue in cybercrime. Now we need not to take our eyes off this because private partnerships = money. And money = greed and corruption.


NBI's proposal is inefficient and ineffective. (I think our government needs more IT personnel.) There are better solutions I can think of.

Regarding the issue about crimes committed on wireless public networks, I propose that they should establish an authority that has the ability to filter packets in wireless public networks. If the public is concerned about privacy and security issues regarding this proposal, well they should just do their online shopping or any other private transactions on their homes. (C'mon, public Wi-Fi is public.) 

Cybercrime is a big problem. Therefore, I also propose that they should form a department (or sector, whatever you call it) for this, e.g. Department of Digital and Online Services. (DoDOS?) Well, that's just something I formed in my head in an instant so bear with me if it sounded awkward. But the proposal itself of a new department will be helpful. With this, the government need not to pay private institutions which lessens the chance of those who plans to take advantage of it. Plus, more jobs! Since most IT jobs in the Philippines are from private companies, government IT jobs will not only open doors to opportunities, but also give us a chance to serve the country as well.

How about you? What other proposals can you think of? Or, have you been a victim of Internet fraud? Whatever it is concerning this issue, you may share it with us.

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