PLDT Inc. and Microsoft recently announced a strategic partnership to work together through Microsoft’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Program (CTIP), a move that aims to strengthen the country’s digital borders and infrastructure security against cyber threats.
The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive work and learning onto virtual ecosystems, and this increase of online usage and behavior has created a broader area of opportunity for cybercrime and malicious actors to target. 2021 saw a wide range of cyberattacks throughout the year, targeting stakeholders of public and private organizations, and even everyday consumers through mobile devices and social media platforms.
Microsoft’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Program is driven by its Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), an international team of technical, legal, and business experts created in 2008 to combat cybercrime on a global scale. Its expertise and unique view into online criminal networks uncover evidence used as criminal referrals to law enforcement agencies throughout the world.
Created in 2013, CTIP collects and distributes actionable cyber intelligence, including that derived from the Microsoft DCU’s botnet takedown operations to Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Critical Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs). CTIP data is also engineered into specific Microsoft products and services to help customers identify threats in their computing environments.
“Microsoft’s DCU values our threat intelligence-sharing partnerships, and we look forward to seeing how the Microsoft CTIP intelligence helps PLDT to protect the citizens of the Philippines,” said Mary Jo Schrade, assistant general counsel and regional lead, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit Asia.
With this strategic partnership, PLDT would gain access to Microsoft DCU’s Azure-based cyber threat intelligence in real time, providing information about the impact in the Philippines from the malware families DCU has disrupted in the past. This intelligence would provide better insights into criminal cyber infrastructure located within their jurisdiction. PLDT, in turn, with its network domain knowledge, could help in two-way sharing of intelligence to identify compromised infrastructure and alert impacted entities in the country to potential cybercrime threats.
“Security is at an inflection point as cyberattacks become more sophisticated and digital attack surfaces exponentially increase. We believe that anything less than comprehensive security is no security at all,” said Andres Ortola, Microsoft Philippines country general manager. “We are committed to ensuring the internet is safe and secure for all users and our DCU is leading the fight against cybercrime to protect businesses and individuals and to promote trust globally. To date, the DCU has completed 24 malware disruption operations worldwide, resulting in millions of devices kept safe from cybercriminals and preventing millions in financial losses. Alongside PLDT, we can do more for the Philippines and empower a safer cyberspace for all Filipinos.”
The partnership with Microsoft is expected to help fortify PLDT’s existing and robust cybersecurity capabilities in preventing and mitigating cyber threats and attacks.
An industry leader in cybersecurity intelligence, PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. safeguard their over 70 million mobile and over 3.7 million broadband customers all over the country against emerging cyber threats and vulnerabilities, investing nearly P3 billion in cybersecurity infrastructure in 2021 alone. These major investments have strengthened the PLDT group’s predictive, preventive, detective, and responsive capabilities. Last year, the PLDT group acquired information on more than 200 million cyber threats and prevented close to 300 million combined types of cyber-attacks.
“Our mature and sophisticated threat intelligence operations are one of the key and most robust pillars of the PLDT group’s cybersecurity structure. We are glad to partner with Microsoft to help fortify our strong cyber threat intelligence operations, and to help us better protect our customers in particular, and the country’s cyber defenses in general,” said Angel T. Redoble, first vice president, chief information security officer, and head of PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group.
Every day, Microsoft analyzes over 6.5 trillion signals to identify emerging threats to protect customers and in response to the increasing cyber threats in the Philippines and globally, Microsoft will invest $20 billion over the next five years to accelerate efforts to integrate cyber security by design and to deliver advanced security solutions.