UST boosts website security as agencies, institutions face cyberattacks

THE UST WEBSITE has undergone augmented security procedures to counter cyberattacks and network vulnerabilities, following the recent incidents of data breaches in the country.

Last Oct. 11, the University website was on temporary downtime “for security checks” and “quality assurance measures,” a day after De La Salle University announced that its website had suffered a “data security incident” that affected its online services.

Two government agencies, namely, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Philippine Statistics Authority have also experienced data breach within the past month.

UST Communications Bureau director Philippe Jose Hernandez said the office already conducts bimonthly website checkups but decided to boost its existing security protocols to mitigate cyber threats.

“We didn’t suffer a breach. We do the regular maintenance and security checks, but with the recent threats that we saw, not necessarily in the university but more of the government data breaches, we decided to amp up the regular checkup by just making sure that we don’t have any major vulnerabilities in our site,” Hernandez told The Flame.

“The security check and the augmentation are done primarily to avoid any (website) alterations and defacement…(but) we added augmentation so hopefully we will not have similar incidents to other sites of other institutions,” he added.

Hernandez clarified that the UST website is not linked to other services provided by the University, including the MyUSTe portal, which holds students’ personal information.

“The UST website only contains information that is meant for public consumption, it is not the same site containing our sensitive personal information. As to the security of the other sites containing our  personal, sensitive information, the best people to ask will be the (Office of Information and Communication),” the university official said.

The Flame has reached out to the Office of Information and Communications Technology and the Santo Tomas e-Service Provider to seek updates on the security status of the MyUSTe portal. As of writing, both offices have not responded.

Hernandez gave assurance that online security and augmentation measures are regularly improved in consultation with OICT to ensure the data privacy of Thomasians.

“We are hopeful that it (UST website) would be less vulnerable and more protected… What the Thomasian community is more assured of is that we will be vigilant. We will make sure that the public face on the online platform will be protected,” he said. F – Cali Asajar with reports from Raymond Vince Manaloto

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