PLDT and Smart remain committed to working closely with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to bolster the country’s cybersecurity infrastructure against cyberattacks, including those believed to be state-sponsored.

During the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) Castle Siege 2 cybersecurity exercise that was also attended by other branches of the armed forces, the AFP Cyber Group, national agencies and the academe, PLDT and Smart Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan urged cybersecurity stakeholders to establish and improve communication lines, “Whether it’s sharing threat intelligence, best practices, joint simulation exercises, we need to come together in order to protect our shared cyberspace together. The quality of attacks has leveled up in sophistication.”

Cyber warfare came into prominence in the conflict in Ukraine. A European Parliamentary briefing in 2022 noted that in the days leading to the invasion of Ukraine, cyber-attacks against the former Soviet state intensified with hackers crippling government websites and disrupting the economy. A coordinated global effort led by the European Union (EU), the United States (US), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) helped neutralize the threats, protect Ukraine’s essential infrastructure, and bolster its cyber defenses.

The Philippines is also being bombarded with cyber-attacks daily. In the case of PLDT and Smart, just in the first half of the year, the PLDT group thwarted more than 5.5 billion cyber-attacks and attempts to breach its digital network.

As hackers develop more advanced tools, Pangilinan stressed the importance of upskilling cyber warriors, “Plans and strategies work best if we have the right teams and the right personnel to back these up. We need to bolster the ranks of our cyber warriors.”

The PLDT group has been working closely with the Air Force in cybersecurity skills development. PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) previously trained Air Force personnel in the latest cybersecurity strategies.

The PLDT group is also building a cybersecurity operations center at the Villamor Air Force Base in Pasay City. The first MVP Cybersecurity Center for Excellence aims to boost the military’s cyber defense capabilities as part of the AFP modernization.

PLDT and Smart’s programs to beef up their partners’ digital infrastructure highlight the use of technology to empower and build bridges of collaboration across sectors to keep the country safe from cyber-attacks. These initiatives highlight the group’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG No. 9 on Industries, Innovation and Infrastructure.

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