Cyberattack on S&R compromised 22,000 data subjects – NPC

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021   •   194

MANILA, Philippines – The National Privacy Commission (NPC) reported that some 22,000 data subjects were affected in the ransomware attack on S&R Membership Shopping.

In a statement, the NPC said it has received an initial breach notification report on November 15, 2021, 4:47 PM, from S&R Membership Shopping in relation to a cyber-attack that may have compromised its members’ contact information.

The NPC said the firm discovered the cyberattack incident on November 14, 2021.

“The company has then submitted an supplemental breach report today, November 24, 2021, confirming that the subject of the ransomware attack was the S&R membership system affecting twenty-two thousand (22,000) data subjects,” the commission said.

Citing the company’s report, the NPC said the attack compromised S&R’s personal data such as date of birth, contact number, and gender.

“Based on the S&R’s disclosure and confirmation from their data protection officer (DPO), credit cards and other financial information were not among the compromised personal data,” the agency said.

“They informed the Commission that they instituted measures to secure their system, recover compromised data, prevent further disclosure, and recurrence of similar attacks,” it added.

The company earlier said that its team has implemented cybersecurity protocols that enabled them to resume system operations. It also assured that the data affected in the attack were only confined to contact information and its members’ financial data are safe as these are protected by encryption measures as required by regulation.

The NPC reminded the S&R of its obligation to fully disclose and individually notify the affected data subject.

The commission likewise directed them to provide the technical report of the incident from the third-party cyber security firm.

NTC to telcos: Warn public against spam text messages

Robie de Guzman   •   November 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered telcos to send a message to its subscribers, warning them about text scams that contain dubious job offers.

In a memorandum dated November 19, the NTC directed Globe Telecoms, Smart Communications, Dito Telecommunity, and Digitel Mobile Philippines to send a text blast containing the following message:

“BABALA! Huwag maniwala sa text na diumano’y nag-aalak ng trabaho. Huwag po magbigay ng personal na impormasyon. Ito po ay isang scam.”

The NTC said telcos have until December 14 to submit their compliance report on the latest directive.

The order comes after thousands of mobile users complained of receiving text messages or e-mails offering job opportunities.

Authorities have tagged this as a scam and advised public to report this to the NTC.

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) earlier said its initial probe showed that a global organized syndicate could be behind the proliferation of text scams.

The NPC said it has summoned data protection officers of local telcos, banks, and e-commerce platforms to discuss the scam text surge.

Nat’l Privacy Commission urged to stop ‘budol’ text scams

Robie de Guzman   •   November 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker on Monday urged the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to look into text scams that offer shady jobs.

In a statement, Senator Joel Villanueva asked the NPC to investigate and put a stop to text scams where cellphone numbers are barraged with job ads or offers.

Villanueva said social media has been flooded with complaints of citizens who have been bombarded with job offers or sales work that promises huge commissions.

“This is the new budol in town,” he said.

He also described these “robo texts” as a variant of fake news, “which many people can fall for.”

“In a nation where unemployment and digital disinformation are high, these kinds of messages can mislead many. Maraming kababayan po natin, lalo na ang mga naghahanap ng trabaho ang ma-si-swindle nito,” he said.

Villanueva called on the NPC to coordinate with the National Telecommunications Commission “on how this illegal and irritating intrusion into one’s privacy can be stopped.”

He likewise asked other government agencies and telecommunications firms to work together in preventing citizens from being victimized by “smishing,” a form of text message phishing, where criminals lure consumers into giving away personal or financial information.

“Nasa area pa rin po ito ng consumer protection na trabaho ng gobyerno,” he said.

He said text offers on overseas jobs violate laws in labor placement, an activity that is tightly regulated by the government to shield job seekers from being victimized by illegal recruiters.

 

NPC draws line between invoking data privacy law and obeying gov’t subpoena

Maris Federez   •   October 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has clarified that no one must use the Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 as an excuse to withhold information in legal proceedings.

The NPC made the clarification amid the ongoing Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the alleged anomalous government transaction with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

In a statement, NPC Commissioner Raymond Liboro said that the law does not prohibit anyone to release personal information in compliance with a subpoena issued by any government investigating body.

“We would like to reiterate that the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (DPA) does not prohibit the disclosure of personal or sensitive personal information (collectively, personal data) when necessary for purposes of complying with validly issued subpoenas by government investigating bodies,” Liboro said.

The statement added that while the NPC aims to protect a person’s data privacy rights, there are provisions in the law that recognizes the processing of personal information when used in legal proceedings.

“While we advocate for the protection of the right to data privacy of data subjects, there are provisions in the law that recognizes the processing of personal information when necessary for compliance with a legal obligation or to fulfill functions of public authorities,” he said.

Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard Gordon noted the NPC’s clarification on the matter.

“Liboro’s initiative and insights are greatly appreciated by the Blue Ribbon Committee and, if I may speak for the whole, by the Senate,” Gordons said.

It can be recalled that the Blue Ribbon cited Pharmally executives Mohit and Twinkle Dargani for contempt for not allowing the release of sourced documents to the committee. The Senate panel subsequently ordered the detention of the two.

The Dargani siblings had invoked the Data Privacy Law, as well as the Bank Secrecy Code and the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines on why they cannot provide the Senate committee with the company’s financial documents. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

info@untv-newsandrescue.com (General inquiries)

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.