DITO threat of cyber attacks raised anew

DITO threat of cyber attacks raised anew | Senator Grace Poe | Juan Manila

MANILA Despite an agreement between PLDT, Inc. and DITO Telecommunity Corporation, senators are still wary of cyber threats and attacks against the country’s internet infrastructure, including those posed by state-sponsored hacking groups.

Even National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. acknowledges cyber threats against the country.

“We are aware of possible threats. We know that in cyberspace there are third-party operators or unknown hackers who could always disturb our systems,” Esperon admits before the Senate public services committee when it tackled the franchise renewal of China-backed DITO telecom company in December last year.

But Senator Grace Poe laments over an apparent lack of a proper plan to protect the country from cyberattacks.

“This is the problem we’re talking about. The franchise of Dito Telecommunity. One of the issues being brought forth is how do we protect ourselves knowing that a certain percentage of ownership is owned by a foreign national,” Poe asks.

She goes on: “How can the Government assure us that they’ve given a fair assessment of the safety to our sovereignty if we don’t even have a proper cybersecurity group that does the assessment?”

Critics have pointed out that China Telecom Corp. Ltd., one of the listed companies of state-owned China Telecommunications Corporation, has a 40-percent stake at DITO, a conglomerate led by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy. In 2018, it was selected to become the country’s third telecommunications player.

Security concerns were raised over DITO after the country’s defense department inked a deal allowing the company to build cell sites inside Philippine military camps. (JSM/JuanManila)

PH launches 2nd nanosatellite into space at NASA

Maya 2 launched | PH's 2nd nanosatellite | Maya 1 | Juan Manila

 

MANILA — The country’s second nanosatellite, Maya-2, was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) successfully early Sunday, together with other nanosatellites from Japan and Paraguay at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Station in Virginia, United States.

Maya-2, which was preceded by the country’s first nanosatellite developed under the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite program (PHL-Microsat) and jointly implemented by the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as part of the Kyushu Institute of Technology-led multinational second Joint Global Multi-nations Birds Satellite (Birds-2), was launched through the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cygnus spacecraft at 1:36 a.m. Sunday, 21 February the current year.

Maya 2 launched | PH's 2nd nanosatellite | Maya 1
Birds-2 in the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer. A view of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Airlock (AL) slide table retraction from Japanese Experiment Module (JPM) during JSSOD-9 operations. The JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) provides a novel, safe, small satellite launching capability to the International Space Station (ISS). Once the J-SSOD including satellite install cases with small satellites are installed on the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) by crewmembers, it is passed through the JEM airlock for retrieval, positioning and deployment by the JEMRMS. (Photo by NASA/Drew Feustel)

“The DOST is very proud of this achievement. Since DOST started the Philippine Space Technology Development Program in 2014, we have already sent orbiting into space two microsatellites—Diwata-1 and Diwata-2, and the nanosatellite, Maya-1. Maya-2 will soon be deployed from the ISS,” Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato De La Peña said in a Viber message.

The program will now transition into the leadership of the newly established Philippine Space Agency which is defined by the Republic Act 11363, or the Philippine Space Act, that was signed into law on 8 August 2019, and intended to manage and operate the Philippine Government’s space program.

Maya 2 launched | PH's 2nd nanosatellite | Maya 1
Birds-2 in the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer. A view of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Airlock (AL) slide table retraction from Japanese Experiment Module (JPM) during JSSOD-9 operations. The JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) provides a novel, safe, small satellite launching capability to the International Space Station (ISS). Once the J-SSOD including satellite install cases with small satellites are installed on the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) by crewmembers, it is passed through the JEM airlock for retrieval, positioning and deployment by the JEMRMS. (Photo by NASA/Serena Auñón-Chancellor)

“All of us should be proud of the fast progress that the Philippines has made in this area considering that we started only in 2014. There are many aspects of governance which will be assisted by space technologies,” De La Peña added.

Launched in 2018, Maya-1 contains an automatic packet radio service digipeater which can communicate with ham radios. It also carries two cameras that have a wide-angle and narrow-angle lens to capture images and videos for research purposes.

Maya-2, on the other hand, has additional experimental payloads, such as different antenna designs and other materials used for the solar panels of a cube satellite. This nanosatellite will collect data and is equipped with a camera for image and video capture, an automatic packet reporting system message digipeater (APRS-DP), attitude determination, and control units for active attitude stabilization and control demonstrations, Perovskite solar cells, and Latchup-detection chip.

DoST’s Advanced Science & Technology Institute (ASTI) and the University of the Philippines Diliman’s Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute, Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology, Department of Geodetic Engineering, and the National Institute of Physics, have been the implementers of these satellite development projects with assistance from three Japanese Universities—Hokkaido University, Tohoku University and Kyushu Institute of Technology.

The succeeding microsatellites Diwata-3 and Diwata-4 and succeeding nanosatellites are now in various stages of development, De La Peña likewise added. (JSM/JuanManila)


Featured image: Maya 2 with Maya 1, an artist’s rendition