The Commission on Elections (Comelec) debunked the Manila Bulletin’s report that hackers allegedly breached its servers and took some sensitive data about the 2022 national elections.
Art Samaniego, MB’s tech editor, told ANC that their report was based on screenshots backed with a 44-page PDF file of the alleged hack which they sent to the Comelec prior to publication of the article. However, Samaniego did not share the methodology they used to verify the screenshots.
“As far as the Comelec is concerned, we are confident we were not hacked,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters. “We see no evidence of any sort of breach, but we are working hard to validate these allegations.”
Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said on her Twitter account that the Bulletin’s report was “fake news.” Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas also debunked the hacking claims via an interview with CNN.
FAKE NEWS : @COMELEC server was hacked, not true. Manila Bulletin editor must verify.
— Rowena Guanzon (@rowena_guanzon) January 12, 2022
Jimenez pointed out the error in the Bulletin’s report, where it claimed that hackers downloaded around 60 gigabytes’ worth of data from the Comelec servers. It contains usernames and PINs of vote-counting machines, and locations of clustered precincts, among other things.
“The clustered precincts are not from 2019 or 2022,” Jimenez said in a mix of English and Filipino. “Our key information is offline, things like information about list of voters. These are not available online, so how can that be hacked?”
Comelec also clarified that the PINs and passwords of VCMs could not be stolen because they are not yet available in the system. Ronald Espartinez