Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hacking Attack on Philippine Government Agencies' Sites ~ An Eye Opener!

A featured news on Yahoo! called my attention - Hackers attack Philippine Vice President Site posted just recently by AFP News. I am not usually interested with matters concerning politics and the people in the government, but this 'hacking' thing caught me. Whoa, what a new year blast to the Philippine government cyberworld, the online portals of some small government agencies were defaced by this so-called PrivateX group.

Reports on hacking is not a very surprising thing. There are lots of intrusion here and there. What's overwhelming is that, these sites that are affected are online portals and/or web sites of Philippine government agencies..whether small or big, these agencies provide services to the people in the local and abroad. Modifying the interface (I have not actually learned what exactly the hackers have done to it), posting unmatched contents or anything that would cause disorder in the website contents surely disturbs the viewers. Worst thing would be disconnection to the source of very important details or information.

I have spent a little time viewing and inspecting government agencies' websites when I was still in the university. Of course, part of the objective was to check for user-friendliness and interactive contents, and look for a good basis for comparison in website projects. At that earlier time, we already noticed the effortless designs of the sites. Most are simple and not so complicated. This is quite understandable especially that most of the Philippine government sites just serve as communication centers. Most contents are static pages featuring the profiles and projects. There are some pages allotted for customer or client support like help lines where to address the concerns and grievances. This is what most sites are serving.

The fact that these websites are defaced posed one major warning - and that is what the PrivateX group has emphasized in their attack. The incident attested how the country's government agencies' sites are weak in terms of cyber security. The report hopefully has called immediate attention towards the concerned organizations. I just hope that future online portals should be dynamically not just appealing but interactive, should cater to a wide extent of services that can be put online, and at least, tolerant to attacks - not just created just for the sake of having a website, but should truly address its purpose, and should withstand tests of vulnerability. I guess every website creator should be alert on this.

The incident reported on the hackers' attack has both advantage and disadvantage. It was bad because we were attacked and our sites are affected but it also let us know that we have to improve our defense. It may be unethical to us but at least we know which things to target for betterment - cyber vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.

Disclaimer: I don't own the image(s) posted herein. Credits to Google.

First Resolution for New Year At Work: Report Early ~ But Not Too Early (As In One Day)

New year, new life. And so, most of us have resolutions for a new beginning, right? Well, not so long time ago, I began to quit believing that I have to update a list of resolutions for the new year. Why? It's because most of it cannot be achieved. Lol. Or should I say, I don't make it happen. Everything just turns out to be just like before. Yet, what I believed in now, is that every day is new year. You don't wait for the New Year just to change yourself. You have every chance to do better in every moment of your life.

But I'm not saying I have not made a list of things I want to improve on myself this year, okay? Well, after Christmas break, I reflected on doing better at work the next time I'll report. I guess I'll have to find enough courage to motivate (or at least find something to motivate) myself so to stop stagnating (I hate to say this but I'm usually bored) at work. I have to keep myself busy with the 'real' tasks so I can finish the necessary things as expected, so I can have time to do the 'unreal' things like you know, simply surfing on the web doing stuffs that unknowingly consume my time and before I know it I have not accomplished anything.

To psyche, I did a 'mental conditioning' on the day (and night) before my first day of duty in the year 2012. I tried to remember the things that I should do on the first hours and made a rough time-budgetting on my several tasks. And everything should begin with...reporting on duty EARLY.

So to start, I headed off for work the following morning (I just woke up fairly the same time as I did). When I was nearing the campus, I noticed there are no students arriving - which is kinda strange 'coz even on ordinary days there are still few who go to school late or not-so-early. I was sort of feeling nervous when I thought of getting reprimanded by our boss that I'm late again and worst, on the first day of the year. So I asked for time check with the driver.

It was 07:24 AM. There are no trace of usual behavior in school. The Philippine flag is hanging on the pole but no children and running or walking around (and I thought that maybe they had their flag ceremony and assembly so early). I peeked through the closed gate and had in mind the idea that maybe there is no class yet. But that's impossible, I thought, 'coz my admin officer told me that we will report back on January 3 when I asked her during the last time we met. I leaned on the doorbell when I saw that none of the classroom doors near the gate are opened. Two of the working boys were there and they are half-surprised to see me around in full uniform. And they told me that there's no class and we will all resume the next day.

Okay? So what do you call that? Indeed, I am early for work. ONE DAY early. Happy New Year... 

Disclaimer: I don't own the images inserted here. Credits to Google.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Merry Christmas 2011 and Happy New Year 2012!

Arite! Hello again, world of bloggers. It's me here, Charmaine, and well, it's been awhile. I've not thought of some meaty heartfelt spills to post for how many days, months, (and decades?) but I visit my place just to see if there's anything new. (Obviously there's nothing new since I haven't posted for centuries! Lol.) But anyhow, let me take this short greeting just to greet everybody a meeeeeeeeerry Christmas and a haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaappy New Year! Woohoo!

Well, it's been a busy December for me, people, (as expected but I slightly never expected ti to be so full). It's because of the annual GKK Fiesta last December 10th (lots of activities to prepare for the big day, along with other youth) maybe..but it's the usual thing here. What added up to my December fever aside from Christmas planning is that, uhm aside of course of my regular appointments at school, our Parish launched a Zonal Misa de Gallo (or traditionally called "Simbang Gabi") and our place was made as the center or host venue. And so, even though there are 5 GKKs in our zone, we need to take charge mainly of the venue preparations. I was honestly overwhelmed and glad (although this called for greater challenge and responsibility) because this became my opportunity to play constantly at a Mass. As you know, (or I still haven't shared to you, lol) that I've been playing the organ (lately, guitar before) for Liturgy of the Word solemnities/celebration in the chapel. I seldom play during Masses especially solo because I don't have much opportunity then. I just sometimes play along with some older (and more experienced) folks 'coz I'm kinda afraid I might be lost in the middle of the Mass (whoa! And I'll blame myself for distracting the solemnity. grr.)

So we started off last December 16, and my co-music committee member, also an organist in co-zonal GKK did play the organ (as the main instrument) while I and my friend, Charlie (whose forte is guitar) seemed to do the back-ups. Rem (the other organist) and I took turns in the organ (but I use my instrument while she used hers, to avoid confusion, and well, just simply talk about "mastery" and "familiarity" for preference. Hehe.) Charlie, who also took charge in leading the playing for the singing of responsorial Psalms, is more experienced in playing in Church for the Masses so I trust him for the rhythms. We did not actually had very good rehearsals (the music ministry for the Misa de Gallo) and that's admittedly a thing to be improved for by next year, hopefully, but in general, we survived!

Aside from the nine days of Misa de Gallo, we also had a Midnight Mass or actually a Christmas Eve Mass on the 24th of December, 9pm, and a New Year's Eve Mass last 31st.

Christmas was so silent for me this year. I can really feel that it's not much merry-making compared to the past Christmases. I don't know. Or maybe just, uhm it's me who spent more time with the Church's solemn observance of the season. Yeah, no much holiday perks but a feeling of contentment and happiness that we all spent the season with our family. :)

Oh same thing with the New Year. But we had our usual family gathering in our aunts' house on January 1st and all my father's siblings and cousins and nieces were there. Lots of food, goodies, games, music, gifts, movies and bondings. And oh, I had these skin scratches souvenir from my uncle's sailfin lizard pet (in my eagerness to have a photo with the reptile. Lol) ..I'm animal-lover, you see. ^_^