On March 27, the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) suffered a breach of its online database. COMELEC officials labelled the hack a minor matter, declaring it an act of minor vandalism and declaring any information affected was non-essential. Only later was it revealed that the complete biodata of 55 million registered Philippine voters had been compromised.
The repercussions of mining the biodata of 55 million registered voters can lead to illegal acts that include identity theft. Identity theft can lead to criminal cases such as fraud, swindling, and theft.
What information was leaked?
• Full name • Home address
• Full name of your parents • Passport number
• Birthday • Fingerprints and other biometric information
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is defined as the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person’s private identifying information, usually for financial gain.
Simply put, anyone with access to your biodata can pretend to be you in order to perform bank transactions or make purchases that you will be held legally liable for if you cannot prove that identity theft has taken place.
What precautions can I take to protect myself, and my family?
• Citizens should contact their banks, service providers, and other applicable organizations to request additional security layers for any transactions requiring submission of personal details.
• Change all passwords for online accounts, especially those based on birthdates or using verification codes asking for mother’s maiden name.
• Inform your co-workers and families to be extra vigilant of any calls asking to confirm details of your information.