Searchable website with hacked data taken down – Comelec

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez said on Friday (April 22) the searchable website containing sensitive data of over 70 million voters has been taken down by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

This comes a day after the site was discovered by the public, which contains millions of registered voters' full name, birthdate, fingerprint information, parents' full name, the complete address of residence, passport number, and more.

Related: Registered voters' sensitive data easily searchable – website

The NBI sought help from the United States' Department of Justice because the site’s domain was bought from a U.S.-based web hosting company. The site itself was hosted in Russia.

But even without the searchable site, the leaked data is still out there.

If you are or were at any time a registered voter, Jimenez and I.T. expert Lito Averia suggested changing the passwords of your email and social media accounts every so often. Also, ask your bank to tell you about any transaction being done on your account.

Hacker leads

The NBI said it has leads on who is behind the data leak.

They are considering 20-year-old Paul Biteng, an I.T. graduate, as one of the suspects. Biteng was arrested on Thursday.

Related: Suspect in Comelec website hacking nabbed

Biteng admitted to defacing the Comelec website on March 27. He, however, denied he is involved in leaking the voters' database.

 

He maintained his innocence, saying he is a "white hat" hacker, or a computer security expert who helps "hack" organizations to determine their systems' weaknesses and help them create a more secure system. He said the "black hat" hackers were the ones who leaked the information to the public.

The Comelec website is currently being run by the Department of Science and Technology. The poll body officials are also in talks with Microsoft and other private I.T. groups to ensure the site's security.

In an interview with CNN Philippines on Friday, chief security expert of Sinag Solutions Rene Jaspe said those who accessed the website could be prone to malware, viruses and even, identity theft.

He also believes this could be one of the biggest data leaks in the country.

"Medyo malaki ito. Wala akong alam na umabot ng 50 to 70 million na records ng mga Pilipino. Kasi wala kang makikitang listahan na ganito kalaki na lumabas sa Pilipinas," he said.

CNN Philippines correspondents JC Gotinga and Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.