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Saturday, July 13, 2024

‘Act swiftly on cyber attack vs. PhilHealth’

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The AKBAYAN Party on Sunday urged the government to immediately resolve the recent cyber attack on the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

PhilHealth was reportedly hacked by the Medusa ransomware group early Saturday evening.

“We call on the Department of Information and Communication Technology to act swiftly and resolve this breach immediately. We also call on the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group to work with the DICT to identify the people responsible and bring them to justice,” Akbayan spokesperson Perci Cendaña said.

Medusa has supposedly demanded a ransom of $300,000 and threatening to release the entirety of the stolen PhilHealth data online if the ransom is not paid.

Ransomware is a kind of malware that encrypts files in a device or system, and that if a hack is successful, cybercriminals demand a ransom in exchange for regaining access.

“At the same time, the government must ensure that there will be continuity of services for PhilHealth beneficiaries,” Cendaña said, adding that investing in cybersecurity and digital literacy in government is crucial, especially since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. batted for a full government digitization.

PhilHealth meanwhile allayed fears of compromised data, saying the attack “is under control and that no personal information and medical information has been compromised or leaked.”

In a statement, PhilHealth said that it has coordinated with the Department of Information and Communication Technology, the National Privacy Commission, and the cybercrime units of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police to conduct forensic investigation and assessment.

According to PhilHealth, it immediately disabled the system access to its website and portal after the detection of the attack early Friday as part of its security measures.

PhilHealth meanwhile said it has laid out temporary procedures for members to file benefits and submit contributions while it tries to resolve the reported cyberattack on its system.

PhilHealth emphasized that its members and their dependents may still access health benefits as long as they submit a photocopy of their PhilHealth Identification Card, Member Data Record or other supporting documents.

PhilHealth said it has advised accredited healthcare facilities to continue deducting PhilHealth benefits and to arrange temporary discharge setup with patients until its system is restored.

The state insurer said it expects to be back online on Monday, September 25.

Meanwhile, self-earning individuals and professionals are directed to pay their premium contributions directly to PhilHealth’s accredited collecting agents with over-the-counter payments.

Further inquiries may be coursed through the PhilHealth Callback Channel at 0917-8987442, the PhilHealth Official Facebook Page @PhilHealthOfficial, or at any PhilHealth Regional and Local Health Insurance Offices, it said.

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