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NEC gets cyber training amid hack rumours

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NEC spokesman Hang Puthea. Heng Chivoan

NEC gets cyber training amid hack rumours

Government anti-cybercrime officials recently trained National Election Committee (NEC) officials on email security, amid attempts by Chinese hackers to target institutions in the Kingdom ahead of the July 29 national elections.

NEC spokesman Hang Puthea confirmed on Tuesday that the organisation has been subject to several attempted cyber attacks over the past few months.

Information posted on the National Police website says the training was conducted by Ministry of Interior anti-cybercrime department director Chea Pov. It focused on email safety among others.

“This is a good activity which shows the care taken over cyber safety during the national election and the cooperation between the National Police and the NEC,” the website said.

Pov declined to comment on whether any particular event triggered the training. When asked about Chinese hackers, he said he has been in contact with counterparts in that country.

“They [Chinese officials] already replied and the issue is under discussion,” he said, declining to comment further.

The anti-cybercrime department on Tuesday reminded social media users to be careful about accepting calls from unknown sources, saying it could be hackers running a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam.

Puthea said that at last week’s training, officials learned how to properly control and protect Facebook pages, email addresses, and websites.

“We are always on high alert for anything that can happen. So, as a precaution, we cooperated for the security and safety of the 2018 election,” he said, adding that during last year’s commune elections there were attempts to hack the voter list, but the NEC was quick to take action.

Puthea said the hacking of voter lists was superficial, as the changes were only made to the published copy of the document and not the original.

“In the last few months, my Facebook account was the first at the NEC to be hacked. They hacked my personal account then tried to log in to the NEC’s spokesperson page,” he said.

Puthea said in the past few months there were other attempts in which hackers created email accounts using the names of NEC staff members and used them to request information.

“This is just an irritation, but it won’t affect the election,” he said.

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