THE Philippines is highly vulnerable to cyberattacks that ethical hacking could help counter, according to cybersecurity testing platform provider Secuna.

Based on the ransomware detections in Asean countries from January to September 2020 by Kaspersky Security Network, this Catholic nation ranks high as the fourth country in Southeast Asia targeted by ransomware attackers. Meanwhile, the Asean Information Center reported that the Philippines remains at a low 82nd when it comes to online security readiness.

“We are not in the worst position, but we can be better,” Secuna Chief Executive Officer Iannis Hanen reiterated in a recent webinar they organized with the FinTech Philippines Association (FPH). “There are countries that have stronger cybersecurity but the Philippines is actually learning and catching up quite fast.”

As an effective solution to the country’s cyber risk, Secuna promotes the deployment of white hat hackers (WHHs), known as the “good hackers” who can detect and report the information technology (IT) and digital vulnerabilities that expose them to criminals on the web.

Their skills are in-demand as local companies have entered the cross-hairs of online hostiles that probe for and exploit weaknesses in their IT infrastructure. However, WHHs are still not enough to meet this urgent need, with 2.046 million vacancies unfulfilled in Asia alone. “With the rising cyberthreats in the Philippines, how can companies become cyber-secured in this ever-evolving digital era? With the help of the cybersecurity community and a proactive, persistent mindset toward protecting your data, a brighter future can be secured,” Secuna President Jay Ricky said.

According to Secuna chief information security officer AJ Dumanhug, their WHH-centered strategy can neutralize present and future cyber threats as their extensive network of ethical hackers provides customers and partners strong protection.

“Genius hackers strengthen companies’ cybersecurity by rigorously and continuously testing their systems to protect them and their users. We incentivize those WHHs for finding valid security vulnerabilities in our clients by paying the first hacker who finds those problems,” he noted.

A business leader’s openness can help firms to “be more accepting of these WHH reports to help them protect their data,” Secuna chief marketing officer Paulo del Puerto pointed out. Advancing the popularity of ethical hacking in the country could be achieved through collaboration. With this in mind, PearlPay Chief Technology Officer Pio Lumungsod suggested that “we should have a platform where the ideas are free-flowing, and the private and government sector can share the best practices.”

For Atty. Mark S. Gorriceta, FPH trustee and Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra managing partner, a forward-looking strategy is vital to building of cyber defenses.

“Risks have to be identified before an attack occurs, since the element of surprise is also part of an attacker’s weaponry. Find the flaws in our defenses and fix them before they are used against us. We need this new cyber environment to make it safe for ourselves and our businesses,” he stressed.

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