PRO-6 scrambles to regain control of Facebook page 

By Jennifer P. Rendon 

If an organization like the Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 could fall victim to online hacking, how much more ordinary citizens with no cyber security up their sleeves?

Late afternoon of Dec. 29, PRO-6’s official Facebook page was reported to have been hacked after several unusual posts were made and the name of the page was changed to “We added an issue page is at risk.”

PRO-6 confirmed the hacking several hours later and tried to temporarily deactivate the page “to prevent the hackers from victimizing people using/engaging our FB Page and also to protect the populace from possible phishing of the culprits.”

But up until now, Major Mary Grace Borio, PRO-6 spokesperson, said they have yet to regain control of their Facebook page.

Borio said they have already sent a communication to Meta, the company that owns and operates Facebook.

“We appeal to Meta to look into the matter so that we could regain control of our Facebook page,” she said.

Several netizens noted that at 5:11 p.m. on Dec 29, the page’s profile photo was replaced with the Facebook logo. Since then, the page has been disseminating misleading information, attempting to deceive its 78,000 followers with a false announcement to report their accounts to avoid supposed consequences.

Borio said that it all started when their page’s administrators allegedly received several email messages claiming that “their page will be disabled because someone has reported you for not complying with the terms of service.”

It added, “if you believe your account was reported by mistake, re-verify your account to avoid getting banned.” To avoid being disabled, they were directed to a link to verify their account.

Borio confirmed that they could have been the victim of a phishing scam, which is a common modus of hackers. Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails or other messages purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

It can be noted that the Facebook page of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) also fell to phishing on April 2023.

Borio acknowledged that what happened to them was a challenge for Regional Information Technology Management Division (RICTMD) and Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (RACU) 6.

Whether they can still be able to get back their Facebook page, “we don’t know yet, as of now,” Borio said.

But if ever they will decide to permanently deactivate it, she said they would make a new one and would limit admins who could access it.