Hackers strike DSWD 7 FB page

A SCREENSHOT of DSWD 7’s “hacked” Facebook page, “DSWD Region VII,” taken on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, shows a video of a sleeping Asian boy unaware of a snake coming out of a hole. /
A SCREENSHOT of DSWD 7’s “hacked” Facebook page, “DSWD Region VII,” taken on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, shows a video of a sleeping Asian boy unaware of a snake coming out of a hole. / DSWD REGION VII FB PAGE

ANOTHER government Facebook page has fallen victim to hacking.

This time, the targeted page was the official Facebook page of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas (DSWD 7), which has around 524,000 followers.

In a text message to SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, Leah Quintana, DSWD 7 information officer, said they are currently addressing the issue. However, she begged off from disclosing their specific actions as a precaution.

First time

Quintana said it was the first time that this happened.

The DSWD 7 managed to post updates on the distribution of family food packs to 152 families who survived a fire in Barangay Basak Pardo before hackers took over the page on Jan. 17.

The DSWD 7 Facebook page that used to promote government health programs and reach out to the public now displays random videos shared by pages like “kreator digital” and “Kashmir Telegraph Network” whose content varies from komodo dragon and goat fights to random videos of fish catching.

Other hacking incidents

Last year, the Cebu City Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) official Facebook account was also hacked and showed images of lactating women.

The official Facebook page of the Philippine Statistics Authority 7 also suffered the same when it lost access to the page last July 2023.

The cases are not only confined to government line agencies and local government units.

Last October 2023, hackers also found their way to breach the cybersecurity of the House of Representatives.

Secretary-General Reginald Ylasco, in a statement, said the House official website had an “unauthorized access,” resulting in the display of a troll face meme on the website’s front page.

The hackers also manipulated the schedule of committee meetings and defaced the photo journals and press releases of the page.

In a separate interview, Joshua Corona, focal person for the Management Information System Services of the Department of Information and Communications Technology Region 7, said activating multi-factor authentication is a crucial measure to safeguard a Facebook page from hacking.

“Those who manage Facebook pages should ensure that they enable multi-factor authentication for the administrators, including those who have roles in the page such as editors and authors,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Targeting page admin

Corona said most attacks target the page administrator.

He advised administrators to exercise discretion and avoid showcasing their administrator role in the social media page of an organization.

“The weakest link in cybersecurity is usually the users. Most of the time, it’s the one managing the page who gets hacked,” said Corona.

Corona also emphasized the importance of having someone dedicated to auditing and monitoring the Facebook page.

Regularly updating ‘strong’ passwords also contributes to enhanced security.

He also recommended that page administrators fully comply with the privacy checks set by Meta, formerly Facebook.


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