I Love Israel: Cyber Security school formally launched in the Philippines

Cyber security collaboration between Israel and the Philippines will only grow stronger as a brand new cyber security school was formally launched in the Southeast Asian nation, according to an article by the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the PNA article. Some parts in boldface…

The first globally-accredited cyber school was launched in Manila Wednesday, bringing in Israeli cyber security education to the Philippines.

The CybersCool Defcon will offer programs based on modules developed by Tel Aviv-based ThriveDX Saas, a company founded by Roy Zur, who previously spearheaded the design and training of elite Israeli Cyber and Intelligence Units.

This is the first globally-accredited cyber school in the Philippines and the idea is really to bring the skill of the people. And this is not only about security, but it’s also related to anything today because everything at the end of the day is related to cybersecurity,” CybersCool Defcon founder Tatoo Amsili told reporters during the launch.

Amsili said they are also in talks with different agencies to discuss possible training programs for government personnel. This as he noted that government agencies must not solely rely on a third-party service provider.

Any department actually goes online today and (they) really need to have their own people they cannot be depending on third party in the software hardware. It’s not enough we need later on people to take over and to manage it,” he said.

CybersCool Defcon has six training programs, including the “Zero to Hero” Cybersecurity Bootcamp, which will open in August 2022.

Brig. Gen. Rami Efrati, founding member and former head of the Israel National Cyber Bureau-Civilian Sector, said its establishment alone conveys a message that “Israel is ready to share its knowledge in cybersecurity”.

Cyber is not only cyber attacks, I am speaking also about cyber terrorism. Because if somebody’s trying to affect the population and the government by doing illegal things, we have to stop it immediately,” he said in an interview.

“So the Israelis, as much as I know as my experience are ready to share this information together with you. This school is one way only,” he added.

Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss, meanwhile, sees the school’s launch as a “strong foundation” for further cybersecurity collaboration between the two nations.

“This sector is very vibrant in Israel and very proactive so it’s really bringing the sector to the Philippines and trying to localize it. And that’s exactly the vision of the embassy and I see this as a model,” he said.

In today’s fully connected world, cyber security is essential and it is a great development that an institution that will provide training on cyber security will be opening soon in the Philippines. This will be crucial not only for the government units all over the Philippines – including the barangay units – but also for private sector members and employers. The institution can also help our nation come up with brand new cyber security experts among the many Filipinos living locally. Apart from being a solid developer on cyber security, Israel itself also has a credible track record of business innovation and technology development that Filipinos can learn from. Truly this latest development is a blessing from the Lord

If you truly believe in Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Heavenly Father wholeheartedly and you continue to be faithful (not religious), you should be aware that Christians are meant to stand united with Israel, love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. You can do your part supporting Israel by donating to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Do not forget to read the Holy Bible, then pray in tongues to the Lord in the privacy of your room with the door shut.

Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! Always stand in support of Israel and pray for President Marcos and all the other government officials who recently took office. Pray also for Israel constantly.

In ending this I Love Israel piece, posted below are Israel-related videos for your viewing pleasure and enlightenment.

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Over 40 employees of online lending applications arrested over alleged harassment of clients and contact persons

Here in the Philippines, have you been harassed or threatened by people who are working for online lending applications where you borrowed money from? I had to ask that question because it was revealed that more than forty online lending app employees (including a foreigner from China) were arrested for allegedly harassing and threatening clients who could not pay back their loans in time, according to a GMA Network news report.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA News report. Some parts in boldface…

Over 45 workers of online lending applications, including a Chinese national, were arrested for supposedly harassing and threatening clients unable to pay their loans within the prescribed period.

According to Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group Public Information Officer Police Lieutenant Michelle Sabino, the division had received several harassment complaints against lending apps that were being run by the Cashtree Lending Corp.

The terms and conditions of the applications allegedly contained a clause that granted the firm access to clients’ contacts – a requirement for taking out a loan. Once approved by the borrower, the firm is then said to save the contacts into its database.

“Hina-harass nila ‘yung mga relatives, kasi nga stated eh, ‘di ba nga like ‘yung contact numbers mo nandon… so if you do not pay out, ‘ire-rape namin ’to, papatayin namin,’ and all other threats na posible, ‘yun ang ginagawa nila,” she said in a report on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

(They harass the relatives, as there was a clause regarding contacts… So if you do not pay, they threaten to rape, kill, and all other possible threats. That is what they do.)

The application targets mainly low-income households and those unemployed, even if it was found to have no certificate of authority or permit to operate.

The company’s loans were also said to have high interest rates, and they get in touch with the borrower’s contacts once payment is not made within eight days.

Collecting agents have also been reported to encourage borrowers to make other loans with different loan applications for them to make a repayment.

“Minsan merong mga dumadating sa kanila na sasabihin ng collecting agent na ‘Okay, para makasambot ka, para makabayad ka, magdownload ka ng itong loan app nito, would also offer, so para maka-payoff ka dito sa isa, mag-uutang ka na naman which in turn nabaon na nang nabaon si victim,” she said.

(Sometimes the collecting agents would tell the borrower that for them to be able to pay, they should download another loan app. So for them to pay off their debt in one application, they would borrow again leaving them buried in debt.)

For his part, one of the suspects, Shihai Dao, said the firm did not encourage any harassment.

“Never do anything illegal in Philippines, so I’m confused… Never allowed to employ to harass the client to pay the money back. Just reminding them and tell them to pay (sic),” he said in the same report.

The firm would face charges for violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2021.

“Do not download ‘tong mga lending apps na ‘to, ‘tong mga loan apps. May tendency na ma-threaten pa ‘yung life mo or i-harass, at ang problema, hindi lang ikaw, lahat ng contact mo,” Sabino said.

(Do not download these lending and loan apps. There is a tendency that your life will be threatened or be harassed. The problem is it will not be just you but all your contacts.)

Authorities from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the National Privacy Commission (NPC) earlier warned firms against unfair debt collection practices.

Such practices included sending violent threats, using harsh words, disclosing the name and other personal information of the borrower in public, and messaging or calling the people on the contact list of the borrower without his/her consent.

The above report ended stating that lending firms who are guilty of doing the above-mentioned practices may be fined between P25,000 to as much as P1,000,000 and also have their certificate of authority to operate revoked.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about this recent news report? Do you know anyone who got harassed or threatened by people because they are unable to pay back their loans in due time? Have you been seriously considering borrowing money through these online lending apps? Does this recent news development discourage you from taking loans through online lending apps? Do you believe that the immigration officials should do something about foreign workers of online lending apps who got involved with the harassment of clients?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

COVID-19 Crisis: Parañaque cybersex den stopped by NBI, several victims rescued

Criminal activities in the city of Parañaque involving Chinese nationals continue to happen. Very recently, a prostitution operation in the form of a cybersex den located in a certain executive village in the city (note: GMA Network did not reveal which village was it in its news report) was entered by personnel of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on a rescue mission. The raid, which took place on May 11, resulted the arrest of one Chinese national and rescue of several victims.

To put things in perspective, here is the GMA Network news video for you all to watch…

Now we can take a close look at the details on GMA Network’s online news report. Here is an excerpt from their report with some parts in bold…

Operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday rescued 20 women, two of whom were minors, from an online human trafficking syndicate at an exclusive village in Parañaque.

According to John Consulta’s report on “24 Oras” on Wednesday, the NBI arrested Chinese national Kong Chiang She during the operation.

Meanwhile, the authorities found the women on the second floor of a house inside the village with their own rooms.

The NBI said the suspects used an online messaging app for their Chinese customers.

Through the app, selected customers can choose the sexual favors that the victims will do. The victims will then be brought to the customers’ homes or the hotel they have selected.

According to the NBI, sexual exploitation is especially dangerous amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Two of the women rescued tested positive in the COVID-19 rapid antigen test. Both the World Health Organization and the Department of Health though have discouraged the use of rapid antigen tests due to its unreliability and its chances of giving false negative results.

“When you engage in the services of the victim, they will not show you a certification that they are negative for swab test or antigen test,” NBI spokesperson Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said.

The arrested individuals declined to comment.

The above news is very disturbing, especially since the entire Philippines is still struggling under the COVID-19 pandemic and people in the city of Parañaque are struggling to get vaccinated. As for the Parañaque cybersex den that got stopped, there is a possibility that it contributed to the spreading of COVID-19 to other people during the time it operated and fulfilled transactions with its customers. As written in the above news report, two victims were found positive with COVID-19 based on the results of the rapid antigen test (which itself was deemed unreliable according the local and global health authorities). As such, all the victims (who were brought to the Department of Social Welfare and Development or DSWD) need to be tested with the proper, more reliable methods.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the GMA Network’s crime news report? Did you notice something strange going on in your local community there in Parañaque City? Are the local police and barangay tanods doing enough to secure your local community from criminals? Do you feel disturbed about the presence of Chinese nationals in Parañaque City?

Which particular Parañaque executive village did GMA’s news report refer to?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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