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Temporary deactivation of PNP info systems needed

May 28, 2024 Alfred P. Dalizon 114 views

PNPFOURTEEN highly-critical Philippine National Police (PNP) Information Systems have been temporarily deactivated as IT experts of the police force work with the Department of Information and Communications Technology to address breaches on its online systems, the Journal Group learned.

Last May 19, PNP chief General Rommel Francisco D. Marbil approved the recommendation from the PNP Information Technology Management Service headed by Brigadier Gen. Jerich T. Royales to ‘temporarily deactivate’ the PNP Information Systems as the PNP-ITMS work to improve the security and reliability of the different IS of the PNP running across PNP network, especially those that are mission-critical information systems.

The move affected some PNP internal processes and services and prompted the PNP-ITMS to recommend the prioritization of the activation of the following systems:

First is the Local Area Network or LAN-based Information System running on an internal network connection;

Second is the internal processes covering personnel and salary records such as the Online Personnel Accounting Information System and PP Payroll Management System; and 3rd is the frontline web-based systems deployed over the internet that are with regulatory compliances such as permits, licenses and clearances and web-based systems for decentralized data processing with access nationwide online via the internet.

The PNP-ITMS also recommended that prior to the re-activation of the affected IS, the following needs to be done by the process/systems owners, specifically the strict adherence to the security procedures to ensure uninterrupted operation of critical business processes and services of the police force.

For LAN-based IS, there is a need to ensure that it is running on a separate and frontline services, setup a stand-alone environment of the system (local host) and temporarily isolate the system from other IS integrated with its process to create a secure environment in order to limit and restrict access thru a setup of a centralized processing environment.

It also called for the establishment of an alternative secure data sharing and communications procedures other than through Application Program Interface until such time that enhanced cybersecurity measures are already in place.

At the same time, it also recommended the need to identify system vulnerabilities and conduct risk assessment to mitigate the possible disruption or cyber threats while running on an isolated network.

Lastly, the Unit also recommended the implementation of security measures such as strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, data encryption, intrusion detection and prevention system, web-application firewall, secure socket layer and other measures stated in the Directorate for Information Communications and Technology Management Standard Operating Procedure No. 2023-01 entitled ‘Technical Security Measures in Safeguarding Data before the resumption of the full operation of the system.

The LAN-based Information System in the PNP recommended by the ITMS include those of the Collection of Fees Information System of the 14th Finance Service Office, the Police Security and Protection Group Info System, the PNP General Hospital Health Information System under the PNP Health Service, the Training Records Information System of the Intelligence Training Group of the PNP Directorate for Intelligence; the Call Taking Monitoring System and Attendance Monitoring System of the ITMS;

The Retirement Management System and the Memo Trace of the PNP Retirement and Benefits Administration Service; the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, Integrated Ballistics Identification System and Combined DNA Indexing System of the PNP Forensic group; the Vehicle Information Management system and Vehicle Information System of the Highway Patrol Group; the PNP-DI Clearance System and the Permit-to-Carry-Firearms-Outside-of-Residence.

Others are the Online PAIS of the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management, the Finance Service Payroll Management System; the National Police Clearance System of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management; the Online License to Exercise Security Profession of the Civil Security Group-Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies; the Maritime Group fishing Vessel Clearance and Database System; the Firearms and Explosives Office Online System;

The Medical Records Management system of the Health System; the Specialized In-Service Training Information Management System of the Training Service; the Internal Disciplinary Management Information System of the DPRM; the Police Open Academy Phase 1 of the Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development; and the Logistics Data Information Management System of the Directorate for Logistics.

The Journal Group learned that the Online Systems of the PNP-FEO, part of the National Police Clearance and the LDIMS of the PNP-DL were the only information systems in the PNP that were recently ‘compromised.’

The findings prompted the ITMS to recommend the temporary deactivation of a total of 62 PNP information systems, seven of them considered as highly-critical frontline services.

The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group with the help of the DICT is already investigating IT personnel in the units whose IS were compromised.

All PNP clients and personnel have been informed of the temporary deactivation too as all transactions will revert to the old manual processing instead of online.

Gen. Marbil has approved a budget for the PNP Cybersecurity Operations Center and the 14 highly-critical units even as the DICT committed to secure them while waiting for the implementation of a fool-proof intrusion protection system within a month.

The PNP last week appealed to the public and its personnel to be patient as concerned units try to enhance their online security and integrity.