Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Friday, May 02, 2008

SOP on computer crime response bared

By: Alfred P. Dalizon - Journal online
ONLY a computer forensic expert should search for any evidence contained in the hardware.

This is just among the standard operating procedures cops have been urged to observe in incidents involving computer crime.

Under Rule 26 of the Police Operational Procedures, computer crime response is the actual police intervention in an incident where the acquisition of evidentiary value are traceable within the computer’ hardware and its network.

Among the do’s and don’t’s in computer crime response are:

-- when the computer is OFF at the time of arrival, do not turn it ON;

-- when it is ON, do not turn it OFF nor touch its mouse or keyboard;

-- if available, call for the Computer Incident Response Team or CRT;

-- if CRT is not available, the unplugging of the computer whether it is ON or OFF at the time of unplugging should be done by pulling out the cable directly from the back of the Central Processing Unit or CPU;

-- each unplugged cable must be marked in the same marking corresponding to the socket from where the cable was unplugged. (Example: ‘Socket’ marked ‘A’ and the ‘Cable End’ also marked ‘A’). The computer should be carefully handled and packed for transport to the police station;

-- only a computer forensic expert should search for any evidence contained in the computer hardware;

-- the computer hard disk should be duplicated by the forensic expert and the original should be kept by the evidence custodian for future presentation. Search and analysis shall be undertaken using the imaged disk.

The need to remind police of the computer crime incidents procedure is necessary as criminals now use the latest computer in illicit activities such as money-laundering, cybersex, bank and credit cards fraud, kidnapping, bank robbery, drug trafficking, large-scale illegal recruitment, rebellion and terrorism.

Officials have expressed concern that improper handling of computer evidence might hamper follow-up operations to get hi-tech criminals and terrorists, including their financiers and masterminds, and worst, erase vital evidence needed in unmasking members of the syndicate as well as their activities, past and present.

Last week, the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group headed by Chief Supt. Raul L. Castañeda arrested 17 suspected members of an illegal recruitment agency led by a Filipino-Chinese businessman following complaints sent to the police by relatives of the victims through Vice President Noli de Castro.

PNP chief Director General Avelino I. Razon Jr. said the suspects, led by Luciano Lim, owner of the Excellent Travel Agency with office at 1523-1525 M. H. del Pilar St. in Ermita, Manila, were arrested for violation of Republic Act 9208, otherwise known as the Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act of 2003.

CIDG agents who raided the travel agency’s office on the strength of a search warrant issued by Judge Emma Young of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 36 seized 13 sets of computers, a recording transmitter, a paper ticket printer and other computer paraphernalia which are now being examined by the CIDG Cyber-Crimes Center.

Castañeda said Tuesday’s operation was the first big case unearthed by the CIDG Anti-Transnational Crimes Division involving trafficking in persons as evidenced by the electronic paraphernalia seized during the raid and considering the magnitude of such illegal activity.

“There are even reports that some of them become impregnated by their ruthless employers while others were homeless for the duration of their stay in Singapore,” Razon said.

Razon congratulated Castañeda and the CIDG-ATCD headed by Senior Supt. Gilbert Sosa for losing no time in attending to the case. Sosa said they are watching the activities of at least 20 other travel agencies involved in similar illegal activities.

“This is a major breakthrough in our war against illegal human traffickers. Hence, I am encouraging other victims to come out in the open to file their complaints with the CIDG,” the PNP chief said.

(The PNP urges victims of crime and rogue officers to send their complaints through Isumbong Mo Kay Tsip at 0917-8475757, the Anti-Kotong Text 0927-5151515; PNP TXT 2920, DILG Patrol 117 or send e-mail to tsip1@pnp.gov.ph or tsip@pnp.gov.ph)

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Globe Telecom quietly enters mobile TV market

By Lawrence Casiraya - INQUIRER.net

Globe Telecom is quietly entering the mobile TV market running the service on its 3G (third-generation) network.

Globe is using a mobile TV solution from Massachusetts-based NMS Communications, which provides the same technology to RTL Group, Europe's largest TV and radio broadcaster, and Hong Kong's CSL.

According to a statement from NMS, Globe can use their 3G-enabled handsets to make a video call to a dial-in number to access the service. Subscribers have six channels to choose from including live feeds from CNN and three local stations. The service also offers "made-for-mobile" TV programs, according to NMS.

"We look forward to putting TV in the hands of our subscribers," said Enril Magdato, business development manager for Globe's multimedia business group, in the statement.

Jones Campos, assistant vice president for public relations, confirmed with INQUIRER.net via phone that the service is available to existing Globe 3G subscribers.

Globe, however, is not actively branding it as a "mobile TV" service but as part of the operator's 3G video streaming services.

"We are continuing with the service," Campos said.

According to NMS, the service does not require any software download and can be used in almost any 3G phone without configuration.

Rival operator Smart Communications introduced a mobile TV service last year running on a network independent of its existing cellular infrastructure. Smart, however, is yet to offer it as commercial service pending go-signal from the National Telecommunications Commission.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

WWW inventor says web only in infancy

The World Wide Web is still only in its infancy, its British inventor said Wednesday, on the 15th anniversary of the Web's effective launch.

Tim Berners-Lee told the BBC that the Web, which started life in the CERN physics laboratory on the Franco-Swiss border in the early 1990s, could develop in unimaginable directions but above all should be a force for good.

"What's exciting is that people are building new social systems, new systems of review, new systems of governance," he said.

"My hope is that those will produce... new ways of working together effectively and fairly which we can use globally to manage ourselves as a planet."

The comments came on the anniversary of the announcement by CERN on April 30, 1993 that the World Wide Web could be used by everyone, after Berners-Lee and a colleague persuaded their bosses to provide the program code for free.

The Web is now the ubiquitous network via which information is shared on the Internet. An estimated 165 million websites now exist, the BBC reported.

"The web has been a tremendous tool for people to do a lot of good even though you can find bad stuff out there," said Berners-Lee, adding that one day the web will put "all the data in the world" at the fingertips of every user.

But "we have only started to explore the possibilities of (the web)," he said, adding that it was "still in its infancy."

Robert Cailliau, who worked with Berners-Lee to open up the web, stressed that not all the bosses at CERN were in favour of making the web universally accessible.

"We had to convince them that this was going to take off and it was a really big thing. And therefore CERN couldn't hold on to it and the best thing to do was to give it away," he said.

Competing technologies -- such as Gopher developed at the University of Minnesota in the United States -- were also offering a way of connecting documents on the Internet, he said.

"If we had put a price on it like the University of Minnesota had done with Gopher then it would not have expanded into what it is now.

"We would have had some sort of market share alongside services like AOL and Compuserve, but we would not have flattened the world." Agence France-Presse

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E-Learning Center for workers launched

In a move to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of workers, the National Wages and Productivity Commission has launched a program that will provide them with such opportunities.

The program involves the establishment of an e-Learning Center, the first launched Wednesday in Ermita, Manila, where workers will be provided facilities and training, said NWPC executive director Ciriaco Lagunzad.

The e-Learning Center has a reading room and mini-library, a computer room with four desktop units programmed with self-learning modules on productivity and a conference room for small group mentoring sessions.

Lagunzad said workers, prospective workers, and entrepreneurs could use these facilities for free while a minimum amount would be asked from employers of larger enterprises who would want access to the center.

“There will be training programs with labor centers and employers that will assist workers in using these facilities,” Lagunzad said when asked how workers could access the e-Learning facilities.

Lagunzad said the e-Leaning Center would expand the target scope of beneficiaries in promoting and enhancing their awareness in improving productivity.

Lourdes Transmonte, Department of Labor and Employment and NWPC chairman designate, told reporters that NWPC was hoping to build centers in different regions in the country soon.

“A lot of our workers only need the opportunity to learn about productivity to be able to improve our competitiveness,” Lagunzad told reporters.

He said the program was consistent with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s strategy to improve global competitiveness through mobilization and dissemination of knowledge and technologies on productivity as proposed in her 2006 State of the Nation Address.

Lagunzad said the e-Learning Center was one of the many programs the government would be implementing for workers.

“As you have seen, the government has implemented programs like the Tinapay ng Bayan [People’s Bread] and rolling stores and subsidies in rice, oil and electricity that are direct benefits to wage earners,” Lagunzad said.

But Lagunzad reiterated that the NWPC was not likely to have a decision this week on the proposed wage increase.

“Hindi pa makapagpasya tungkol sa wage increase dahil kinakailangan pa ng public hearing para makapag-submit ang iba ng kanilang mga posisyon tungkol dito [We could not decide yet on the wage increase because there still has to be a public hearing for other groups to submit their different positions on the matter],” he said.

The public hearing is scheduled on May 10, he said.

Camille Diola, Contributor

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IT industry groups revive push for DICT bill

An organization representing private stakeholders in the Philippine Internet commerce industry recently revived the push for a proposed measure creating the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Philippine Internet Commerce Society (PICS) president Mary Anne Tolentino told INQUIRER.net Wednesday that the group wants to revive the DICT bill this year because it got sidetracked by other issues, such as the controversial national broadband network (NBN) project and recently the rice crisis.

Tolentino also acknowledged in an Internet chat interview that the Philippine Computer Society has also sent its own letter supporting the passage of the bill.

Last March, the Senate called for a public hearing on the bill creating the DICT. But the hearing might have been bumped off by the ongoing Senate inquiry on the NBN issue.

The March 11 public hearing was organized by the Senate committee on science and technology headed by Sen. Edgardo Angara but was canceled for unknown reasons. Incidentally, March 11 was also the day the Senate Blue Ribbon committee revealed its "surprise witness" in the person of ZTE Corp. technical consultant Leo San Miguel.

Several bills were filed with the Senate proposing the creation of the DICT, which would ideally oversee government ICT activities and policies. Currently, the Commission on Information and Communications Technology is acting as an interim body to the planned DICT.

Senators Angara and Loren Legarda are among the senators supporting the bill.

Legarda said last year that she filed creating the DICT. She made this announcement during a meeting of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society.

Legarda said that the country needs a department on ICT because this is a "need of the future," noting that the country is lagging in the development of the IT industry due to lack of a department solely focused on this booming industry.

The DICT is seen to set government policies and oversee government IT projects.

The House committee on information and communications technology has also been pushing its own version of the DICT bill. By Erwin Oliva - INQUIRER.net

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Canadian volunteers help Filipinos avoid e-governance errors

"In North America, we've made a lot of mistakes," recalled Canadian volunteer adviser Roger Scazighino of the Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) during an interview at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City.

Having been in the high-tech industry for 50 years, Scazighino has been a consultant to various projects, including the Skylab project, which was the first American space station launched into orbit.

During those years, he said that many North American government automation projects failed completely or were launched but later found wanting.

Scazighino is just one of many Canadian volunteers sent by CESO to different parts of the world, including the Philippines, to share their expertise. Afraid of just fading away, he decided to become an expert volunteer in project management, teaching people how to execute automation of large information technology projects.

"If you think training is expensive, try ignorance," the Canadian volunteer said, quoting a sign he saw in the Philippines, as he was assigned to teach municipality officers to manage government automation projects.

Local municipalities in the Philippines usually "don't have much," added Leslie Strike, another Canadian volunteer adviser who has 40 years of experience in banking and information technology. After retiring, she decided to volunteer for CESO.

Strike and Scazighino spent a few weeks in select areas in the country identified by CESO. Strike said she was assigned to help local municipalities understand "strategic planning."

Project management and strategic planning are concepts familiar in the corporate world. Both concepts are now being passed on to local government officers in the country in the hopes of promoting better governance through the use of information technology, Strike said.

Scazighino said training is an expensive exercise, but that countries cannot jump into the 21st century without going through the pain of training.

As expected, the younger municipal officers were leading e-governance projects in local governments. However, these young leaders often lack the "real-life" experience necessary to run projects.

Scazighino said e-governance projects are like large enterprise projects: One has to lay down standards to ensure successful project implementation. But one of the challenges was to show the benefits of such projects. In most cases, e-governance leads to intangible benefits, such as faster delivery of public service.

Strike, for her part, said it was important to let local government officers understand how technology can serve their needs. But someone has to be a champion, she added.

Scazighino said local governments should also start documenting the "lessons learned" from projects that have failed. This process will later help them avoid the same mistakes, he said.

"The average citizens do not always see the benefits of automation," he said. He also pointed out that communication was very important in government automation projects.

"Technical people need to learn how to communicate with their leaders and the rest of the organization," he said. By Erwin Oliva - INQUIRER.net

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Solon proposing ICT hub in every province

A lawmaker is proposing the establishment of an information and communications technology hub in all 81 provinces in the Philippines.

Hoping to boost the development of the high-tech industry in the country, Pangasinan Representative Rachel Arenas said the proposed measure, dubbed "One Philippines Act of 2007," would also create a "digital infrastructure fund" amounting to P50 billion for government seed capital on the development of the Philippines’ ICT hubs.

Under the proposed measure, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC) would provide necessary implementing rules and regulations in collaboration with the League of Provinces.

Similar to how the Philippine Economic Zone Authority grants incentives to companies locating in economic zones, the bill indicated that the ICT hubs would provide five-year tax breaks from national taxes.

The locators in these ICT hubs should come from business process outsourcing companies and other related ICT services, such as animation, software development, medical and legal transcription.

The lawmaker also said that the ICT hubs should be outside of the urban centers or the capital of a province.

The embattled DoTC has been in the middle of a controversial national broadband network project, which hopes to provide a centralized broadband network for the Philippine government.

Arenas said her bill hopes to boost investments in the provinces, and eventually bridge the proverbial digital divide. By Erwin Oliva - INQUIRER.net

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CATV operators want stiffer fines for signal theft

Cable TV (CATV) operators on Tuesday clamored for higher penalties for signal theft, saying a syndicate of illegal and unregistered CATV operators has been earning millions of pesos from the crime.

In a joint public hearing on CATV and Internet signal theft, Philip Chien, president and chief executive officer of Destiny Cable Inc., said punishing members of the syndicate pesos with three to five years’ imprisonment is “not fair.”

The group operates in some areas in southern Metro Manila, according to Jose Lobregat, external committee chairman of the Philippine Cable Television Association Inc.

“[The illegal operators] will give you a choice of what cable company you want…and then you pay one fee and that’s it. Lifetime na yun [That’s a lifetime connection], no more monthly fees,” Lobregat alleged.

Cable signal theft, which involves tapping cable signals to get a free connection, is believed to be prevalent for eight years now, PCTA president Allan Dungao said in an interview after the hearing.

Dungao said those involved in the syndicate are former employees of big cable companies who know their way around the systems of the companies.

He noted that, while some of the illegal operators have been jailed, local ordinances have ensured their detention for only a short time. “Tapos ang mangyayari lilipat na naman sa kabilang [lugar] so ikot-ikot lang [And then they will go to other cities, so they just go around].”

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, author of one of the bills discussed in the hearing, agreed that higher penalties should be imposed on the illegal cable operators, those who tap cable signals, and those involved with the alleged syndicate.

“That would be a different level of thievery. Large scale na yun, wholesale na yun [That large scale, that is wholesale]. You are already in competition with the cable operators,” Enrile said, lamenting the income losses of legitimate operators.

According to the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia, the Philippines has the second highest number of illegal cable and satellite TV subscribers in Asia, with the local cable industry incurring more than P5 billion in revenue losses.

The ratio of legal and illegal cable subscribers is pegged at 1:1, Lobregat said, with most of these illegal connections found in congested areas of Metro Manila, Dungao said. By Rachel Hermosura - INQUIRER.net

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DICT could 'synchronize' gov't IT work--industry group head

The government is showing signs of progress in terms of information technology but a full-fledged department is still needed to "synchronize" its various IT projects, according to the head of a local industry group.

Peter Tan, Information Technology Association of the Philippines (ITAP) president, noted that several government agencies have made progress with their respective projects, most of them in automating public services.

"The government is still the biggest IT market and there have a been a lot of projects in the last two or three years," said Tan, also president and CEO of Fujitsu Philippines.

Tan, however, noted that the government could save a lot of existing resources by synchronizing these projects by various agencies.

"IT in government remains very much fragmented…all the more that we need a DICT [Department of Information and Communications Technology] to bring harmony into all these initiatives," Tan told INQUIRER.net.

A bill proposing the creation of a DICT has been languishing in Congress, owing to questions and lack of enough support from the Senate.

The Arroyo administration has instead created the Commission on ICT (CICT) as an interim body handling IT initiatives, including promoting the Philippines as an investment destination for the high-tech and business process outsourcing (BPO) industries.

"But the CICT still lacks teeth right now to be able to address this," said Tan, referring to the synchronization of IT in government. "But I believe it will be quite some time before a DICT finally becomes a reality." By Lawrence Casiraya - INQUIRER.net

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Comelec advisory council: Award contract to remaining bidder

Use all legal means to implement automation

The advisory council to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has reiterated its earlier position to award the contract to a bidder found to have showed "sufficient compliance" with the technical requirements of the poll body for the automation of elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The advisory council, led by the chairman of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), met Saturday to discuss its reaction to the poll body's earlier decision to set aside automation of the elections in ARMM after the latest bidder failed to comply with a number of mandatory technical requirements, and last weeks' plan by lawmakers to suspend the procurement act to help Comelec pursue automation.

The Comelec agreed Monday to proceed with automation in four of the six provinces of ARMM.

"With regard to the DRE component, we reiterate our comments in our letter dated 3 April 2008 that the sole bidder has demonstrated sufficient compliance for the Comelec to proceed with the awarding of the bid," the advisory council said in a resolution signed by majority of its members, a copy of which was obtained by INQUIRER.net.

"We have no objection to the Comelec's decision to expand the deployment of direct recording electronic (DRE) technology from two cities or municipalities to an entire province, but we still believe that scaling down the deployment of DRE technology will lessen the risk of a failed automation," the resolution added.

The council was referring to a decision of the Comelec to reject the bid made by Smartmatic Sahi joint venture after the latter failed to comply with several mandatory technical requirements set out in the request for proposal, which was drafted by the poll body in collaboration with the council.

The rejection of the bid follows the disqualification of a previous bid for non-eligibility, leaving no qualified bidders remaining for the automation project, which the Comelec considers a pilot for the automation of local and national elections in 2010.

According to Comelec resolution 8436 dated April 11, 2008, the Comelec en banc has adopted the recommendation of its Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) to reject the bid tendered by the joint venture.

According to the resolution, Smartmatic Sahi bidded for several components of the automated ARMM elections, namely the electronic voting system with integrated election management system; the secure electronic transmission system for election results; the consolidation and canvassing system; and the systems integration and over-all project management.

Meanwhile, the advisory council said that the Comelec should use whatever legal means to proceed with the procurement process for the optical-mark reader component of the ARMM poll automation.

The advisory council said it will continue providing advice and technical assistance to the Comelec with regard to the automation of elections starting with ARMM and eventually the 2010 elections.

The advisory council is the body of expert advisers created under Republic Act 9369 and given the task of recommending to the Comelec which technology to use for the automation of elections.

The advisory council has recommended the use of two technologies in the ARMM elections: direct recording electronic and optical-mark reader.

DRE uses a touch-screen or touch-pad technology for voting, while OMR requires voters to complete a paper-based ballot which is then fed into a specially designed machine, similar to a scanner.

The advisory council had recommended a six-month schedule for the deployment of the automated election system. This will also include training of voters and the users in Comelec, and "mock elections."

The Department of Budget and Management has allocated about P867 million for the automation of the elections in ARMM. By Erwin Oliva - INQUIRER.net

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