Official Instagram account of PCOO became the latest target of hacking

January 8, 2020 - 6:50 PM
A padlock is displayed at the Alert Logic booth during the 2016 Black Hat cyber-security conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. August 3, 2016. (Reuters/David Becker)

The official Instagram account of the Presidential Communications Operations Office is the recent victim of data breach following a series of attacks on government websites last year.

Jusan Vincent, PCOO’s Assistant Secretary for Global Media and Public Affairs, confirmed this on Facebook.

“We decry the malicious act by unknown individuals who hacked the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s Instagram Page, with the handle @pcoogov. We are now looking into this matter and have coordinated with Facebook to resolve it immediately,” Vincent said.

Facebook’s team already locked the account, the official assured, and he requested the public to ignore any posts from that account in the near future.

“The account has been locked by Facebook’s team so that hackers will no longer be able to use the account. In the meantime, we ask our followers to disregard any present and future activities on our Instagram page, until such time that the matter is resolved,” Vincent said.

The verified page’s previous content of over 100 posts was replaced with two video clips, whose text was written in Arabic.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

As of publication, the account’s previous photos were slowly being restored. The number of its followers appeared to be the same while the number of accounts it follows increased.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

Hacking of government websites

A group of Filipino hackers called Pinoy LulzSec hacked the website of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and that of other public and private organizations and agencies from April 1 to April 3 as part of its April Fool’s joke.

It even taunted the government for its ability to easily breach their database.

“Isn’t it funny and challenging to do when you hacked secured military servers and dump the database?” Pinoy LulzSec said on Twitter.

The National Privacy Commission revealed that several social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and even Wattpad were also hacked that time.

Organizations that handle data called personal information controllers (PICs) which were affected by the hacking incidents were expected to report within 72 hours after discovering the data breach.

The help of the Department of Information and Communications Technology was also sought to investigate the hacking incidents.