"Chinese hackers" strike again.
This time, the Department of Budget and Management website was defaced, the latest in a string of cyber-attacks in supposed retaliation by citizens of China over the standoff in Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal.
A screenshot obtained by Yahoo! Southeast Asia showed a Chinese flag. Text on the website warned "Don't Trouble Chinese, Don't Play With Fire" and mentioned the "Silic Group Hacker Army".
In an official statement, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said data on the website was intact.
"We are at present conducting a security audit on the site, which will remain offline until the audit has been completed and the necessary repairs are made. In addition, we have yet to establish the true identities of the parties or individuals responsible for the attack," he said.
On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda announced that the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office detected attempted attacks on its website. The websites of the Official Gazette, and the Presidential Museum and Library had also been targets of cyber-attacks.
“Information gathered through our data analysis indicated that the attack originated from IP addresses assigned to Chinese networks,” he said.
Last Friday, the University of the Philippines website was defaced with a photograph captioned "We come from China! Huangyan Island is Ours!".
In a related development, the Department of Foreign Affairs sent a note verbale through the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, DFA Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez reminded China that responsibility for defusing tension over the disputed Scarborough Shoal lies with both sides.
He said discussions in Manila should be transmitted "factually" to China's Foreign Ministry. He also denied that Philippine vessels have harassed Chinese ships in the shoal.
Tension has been high between the Philippines and China since the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar figured in a stand-off with Chinese vessels in the Panatag Shoal, which China is claiming as its territory. The Philippines has said it is inside its exclusive economic zone.
According to the DFA, the Philippine Coast Guard's BRP Pampanga and a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ship are in the area and are keeping an eye on six Chinese vessels there.