US, Philippine militaries share cyber expertise


Philippine and U.S. service members stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ during the opening ceremony of Balikatan 2017 at Fort Magsaysay in Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija, May 8, 2017. Balikatan is an annual U.S.-Philippine bilateral military exercise focused on a variety of missions including humanitarian and disaster relief, counterterrorism, and other combined military operations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Casbarro)

The U.S. military and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) engaged in a cybersecurity exchange as a part of Exercise Balikatan 2017, reports DVIDS. The event includes a two-day risk management focus group, designed to exchange information on the fundamentals of cybersecurity and network risk management.

“Yesterday was about risk management, and today is about crafting policies based on those risks,” said Philippine Navy Lt. Cmdr. James Minguillan, a focus group attendee with the Naval Communication Technology Center. “This will help us in crafting the policies that are needed for the whole organization as far as cybersecurity is concerned.”

The AFP and U.S. military discussed current events pertaining to cybersecurity and exchanged ideas on how to prevent future breaches.

“They had the brief on risk management and they came up with some things that they wanted to discuss based on what is going on in the world in regards to cybersecurity and the recent cyberattacks,” said Derrick Ota, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific (MARFORPAC) cyber defense planner.

The exchange allows the U.S. and AFP to collaborate defensive network policies and protect users by sharing cybersecurity fundamentals.

“We have a common need,” said Minguillan. “At this time, we are trying to level our understanding of cybersecurity. For us, learning this information and applying it to our networks is essential.”

The exchange comes on the heels of the WannaCry ransomware attack. The ransomware paralyzed vital systems in more than 150 countries by exploiting a vulnerability in the software. Britain’s hospital network was crippled, forcing emergency rooms to shut their doors, halting chemotherapy treatments because patient’s records could not be accessed, and suspending routine procedures.