PLDT rallies businesses to boost cybersecurity, as attacks quadruple

With more businesses going digital in the pandemic, PLDT urges the implementation of extensive cybersecurity measures to prevent, combat, and mitigate cyber threats and attacks.  The digital community has seen a spike in cyber threat activities, beginning March 2020, when the global lockdown was implemented.

Through its business units PLDT Enterprise and ePLDT, PLDT as the Philippines’ largest and fully integrated telco, advises organizations with critical and sensitive data to be wary of cybercriminals.

“The world we live in – our homes, our workplace – has become perimeterless,” said ePLDT Chief Information Security Officer, Marilene Tayag. “Our environment has become diverse. We have become more digital, more connected, we have more devices connected to the network. The proliferation of new digital devices – for our personal, home, and work use – has started changing the way we live and work. Our mobile phones, laptops, smart TVs, IP cameras, smart appliances – all of these are possible entry points of attacks,” she added.

In its data report, over 71 billion access to malicious websites has been blocked by PLDT Group, as of end-2020. This helps curb phishing and digital scamming campaigns that aim to prey on unsuspecting people using COVID-19 themed malicious techniques.

“Seeing how the whole world is connecting rapidly, cybersecurity is one of the most important considerations for a company’s operations today. We need to plan and prepare for natural disasters, and large-scale outbreaks – both biological and cyber,” added Tayag.

In 2020, around 675,000 incidents were detected by the PLDT Group’s Security Operations Center, averaging over 56,000 incidents each month, four times more compared to pre-pandemic figures.

During the Westcon Virtual conference, ePLDT Business Development Manager for Cybersecurity Bernice Pineda shared, “There were a lot of COVID-19-related phishing emails. Cyber threat actors take advantage of the global health crisis and people’s need for information by using social engineering methods. These include enticing users to open phishing emails using the subject “COVID-19” as lure, visit malware sites using COVID-19 themes, click on a link that leads to a phishing website, and download an application that has embedded malicious code.”

“Attackers constantly evolve their tactics to compromise sytems, and they will always seek the easiest way in and go after the asset that is most valuable to them, added Pineda. “They change their tactic based on what is novel and relevant to the times. They exploit the human element. The best security in the world will not protect us if a cybercriminal is able to fool an organization’s employee or its members into clicking a malicious email. A lot of the malware is still delivered via email because it is quite easy to do and the success rate is pretty high.”

PLDT urges everyone, organizations in particular, to plan and implement cybersecurity measures to counter these kinds of potentially debilitating incidents. Preparation includes having the end-to-end capabilities – before, during, and after an attack. 

The cybersecurity approach ePLDT recommends can be summed up to the following: Frameworks, Intelligence, Technology and Tools, and Expertise, or FITE.

Cybersecurity is more than preventing or blocking attacks. There is no question that prevention is still an integral component of a cybersecurity layered defense strategy. 

“In PLDT, we have partner technologies to deliver this capability. But we need to equally strengthen the company’s predictive, detection and response capabilities. It is paramount for companies to assess their risk exposures and deploy intelligent predictive technologies to foresee attacks,” shared Pineda.

The question that needs to be answered is, “What happens when an attack does get through?” asked Pineda. The mindset that companies need to have is that a cybersecurity breach is no longer a question of “If” but “When”. This is where having an incident response plan comes into play. Organizations need to be able to quickly respond to, contain, and investigate attacks, as well as immediately remediate exploited vulnerabilities.”

 For more information on Cybersecurity programs of the PLDT Group, visit