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PIA Press Release

La Union election supervisor discounts risk of automated election hacking

By Jennilyne C. Role

San Fernando City, La Union (22 January) -- The alleged possible hacking of the automated election this May 2010 national elections is never an easy move as everybody claims, according to Atty. Joel J. Ginez, Provincial Election Supervisor II of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) La Union Office.

"The issue came when some agencies and individuals' email addresses were hacked sometime December last year and early this month," Ginez said.

In a one-hour "Ammuentayo" radio program of the Philippine Information Agency Region I over DZNL-Aksyon Radyo, Ginez elaborated the precautionary measures that safeguard the machines and the programs to be used for the election.

"Each PCOS is a stand-alone machine that is not connected with the world-wide web which is the gateway to hacking systems, emails and the like, which means that a hacker should have to steal the machines first before he could make some hacking moves in the machine's system," Ginez said.

He further said that it would take several months for a hacker to successfully access any machine's system' codes or passwords and the PCOS machines will only be released/delivered to the clustered precincts 2-3 days before the election day on May 10, which will be fully guarded by members of the Philippine National Police, barangay officials and the COMELEC.

Secondly, Ginez mentioned that each PCOS has ten (10) firewalls, instead of the usual one firewall only to ensure that any attempt to access the machine's system will be a failure.

A firewall is a part of a computer system or network that is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting authorized communications. It is a device or set of devices configured to permit, deny, encrypt, decrypt, or proxy all (in and out) computer traffic between different security domains based upon a set of rules and other criteria.

Firewalls can be implemented in either hardware or software, or a combination of both.

Likewise, each PCOS has billions and billions of encryption which has long been used by militaries and governments to facilitate secret communication.

"Integrating billions of encryption ensures protection of information within many kinds of civilian systems like the automated national and local elections' system..

Encryption is the process of transforming information (referred to as plaintext) using an algorithm (called cipher) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key. (PIA Region 1/La Union) [top]

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