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PLDT and Smart have been working closely with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to strengthen the country's cybersecurity infrastructure against cyberattacks, including those believed to be state-sponsored.

PLDT and Smart Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan urged cybersecurity stakeholders to build and improve communication lines during the cybersecurity exercise, called "Castle Siege 2," which was attended by personnel from the Philippine Air Force (PAF), the AFP Cyber Group, national agencies and academia.

“Whether it’s sharing threat intelligence, best practices [or] joint simulation exercises, we need to come together in order to protect our shared cyberspace together. The quality of attacks has leveled up in sophistication,” Pangilinan stated.

Cyberwarfare became well-known during the conflict in Ukraine. A European Parliamentary briefing in 2022 noted that in the days leading to the invasion of Ukraine, cyberattacks against the former Soviet state intensified, with hackers breaking into government websites and disrupting the economy.

A harmonized global effort led by the European Union (EU), the United States (US), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) helped neutralize the threats, protect Ukraine’s significant infrastructure and bolster its cyber defenses.

The Philippines is also being battered by cyberattacks every single day. In the first half of the year, the PLDT Group prevented over 5.5 billion cyberattacks and attempts to breach its digital network.

As hackers are becoming more advanced, Pangilinan emphasized the importance of upskilling cyber warriors. “Plans and strategies work best if we have the right teams and the right personnel to back these up. We need to bolster the ranks of our cyber warriors,” he explained.

The PLDT Group has been working closely with the Air Force on cybersecurity skills development. PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) also previously trained Air Force personnel in the latest cybersecurity strategies.

Moreover, the PLDT Group is also establishing a cybersecurity operations center at the Villamor Air Force Base in Pasay City. The first MVP Cybersecurity Center for Excellence aims to boost the military’s cyber defense capabilities as part of the AFP modernization.

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