MANILA, Philippines - Members of hacktivist group Anonymous Philippines have been successfully dodging the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) moves to pinpoint their location and have them arrested, a bureau agent admitted Monday.
Special Investigator Joey Narciso of the NBI Computer Crime Division said that his team has been investigating 20 identified individuals believed to be behind the hacking spree, but the hackers have been countering the bureau’s monitoring activities.
"We are also being monitored by these online vandals. They are countering everything we're doing," Narciso said in Filipino.
Narciso declined to divulge details of the operation against the hacktivists, whom he described as young and are still in college.
"These are young people whose [computer] knowledge [is] only emerging. What they did in jest [to hack government sites] has a corresponding violation," Narciso said in a radio interview, saying that the hacking spree by the group is a violation of the new Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Anonymous Philippines attacked the government's online properties since September 27 as a form of protest against the newly-signed controversial anti-cybercrime law.
"They are a loose group of 'hacktivists', as they like to refer to themselves. They don't have a leader [and] they don't have any objectives. They only met on the Internet and called themselves 'anonymous', intending to show they have capability to express their sentiments," Narciso added.
Besides Anonymous Philippines, hackers Private X and Sibusabo purportedly behind hack attacks of the past months are also being monitored by NBI, Narciso said.
Meanwhile, other hackers have joined the hacking spree of Anonymous Philippines, defacing other websites being maintained by the government.
A so-called "Turkish Hacker" left a message and an image of the Turkish flag on the website of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Monday morning.
"The Turkish Republic will be happy and prosperous," the hackers, who left their aliases on the DOTC site, said.
It also indicated that the DOTC attack is part of an Ortuk Operation or "Ortuk Operasyon" The word "Ortuk" in Turkish means "common."
As of 9:45 on Monday, DOTC has successfully restored its website.
The websites of the Maritime Training Council (MTC) and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), meanwhile, were also defaced on Sunday by hackers "Ablaze Ever" and "Teamr00t" who left their names on the sites.
As of posting time, MARINA's original web page has been repaired while MTC's site remained inaccessible.
Anonymous Philippines member Prisoner said on his Facebook account that his group is not part of the latest vandalism activities.
"[We] honor our word. If we say we are not going to attack, we are not going to attack. We will not destroy our principles and reputation. We are silent now, but expect us," the hacker said.
The group launched the hacking spree in protest of the Cybercrime Prevention Act signed by President Aquino last September 12.