PNP reinforces Filipino Facebook users’ capabilities against cyberattacks

Facebook users in the Philippines are being advised by the Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) to reinforce their capabilities to counter possible cyberattacks in the wake of recent identity theft reports and hacked social media accounts.

Nearly 50 million Facebook accounts were compromised by an attack that gave hackers the ability to take over users’ accounts, Facebook revealed on Friday, September 28.

According to Facebook, their engineers discovered the security breach last Tuesday, September 25, and patched on Thursday September 27. Users whose accounts were affected will be notified by Facebook; they will be logged out of their accounts and required to log back in.

The security breach is believed to be the largest in Facebook’s history, as reported by The Guardian. The attack was particularly severe because the hackers stole “access tokens” — a security key that allows users to stay logged into Facebook over multiple browsing sessions without entering their password every time. Possessing a token lets an attacker to take full reins of the victim’s account, including logging into third-party applications that use Facebook Login.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said that with the development of technology, some have seen it as an opportunity to earn money — even in illegitimate ways, such as hacking and scamming.

“This is the crime trend that we have seen in the recent times. Due to the involvement of millions of Filipinos in social media, some have seen it as very profitable and they [suspects] are really hard to trace and find,” Albayalde said.

The PNP Chief also said the ACG under Chief Supt. Marni Marcos issued guidelines that will protect the public from hackers:

• Social media accounts should be kept private;

• Utilize a unique password in every online account you manage;

• Initiate a background check on a person’s social media account who is not known to you personally before befriending or accepting a friend request;

• Install anti-virus programs and activate your firewall;

For more information about the new trends of cybercrime modus operandi and how to avoid them, visit ACG’s website at and Facebook page: PNP Anti-Cybercrime. 

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