DESPITE  its miniscule resources, the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center said it remains on track to address growing threats of cybercrimes in the country.

“We have been allocated with a budget of P11 million for 2021 to meet the challenges of cybercrime. It is a small amount but we are working with Congress for additional funds,” Assistant Secretary and Deputy Executive Director of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center James Layug said in a webinar on Thursday organized by the BusinessMirror and the Philippines Graphic.

With the additional funds, we can acquire the equipment and upgrade the capabilities of  our officers to fight cybercrime,” Layug added.

Layug said his office tries to innovate and be adaptive to current conditions by forging memorandum of agreement and memorandum of understanding with local government units, nongovernment organizations and the business community to have a stronger force against cybercrime.

Moreover, Layug said they have also formed partnerships with telecom companies and internet service providers to offset budgetary constraints.

Meanwhile, leading cybersecurity providers warned that ransomware is one of the top cyber threats. It is a type of malicious software that threatens to publish a victim’s personal data, or make use of encryption to block access, or hold hostage the victim’s files until a sum of money is paid.

According to a report from Kaspersky Security Network, cybersecurity threats in the Philippines increased by 59 percent with over 44.4 million detections for 2020 alone, and over 7,000 companies encountering ransomware attacks.

Meanwhile, United Kingdom-based cybersecurity firm Sophos revealed that  local organizations spent an average of $820,000 to recover on attacks, including the ransom and cost incurred because of the system downtime.

“There is a need for the further strengthening of cybersecurity among businesses, especially now that cybercriminals are taking advantage of our non-standard operating mode and our increased reliance on digital platforms,” Marilene Tayag, Chief Information Security Officer of ePLDT, the ICT arm of PLDT Enterprise,  said in press statement.

“Organizations have started investing more in cybersecurity. Enterprises have come to realize that protecting the company’s digital assets must be integral in the implementation and adoption of innovative technologies.”

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