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PLDT, Smart block more than 10,000 links tied to online sexual child exploitation

Following the report on being able to block 9,000 sites linked to child abuse, PLDT Inc. and its wireless subsidiary Smart clamp down more than 10,000 more sites as part of their efforts to prevent online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

According to PLDT and Smart, in the first half of June alone, they blocked access to more than 4,500 URLs and domains tied to OSAEC. The latest number still comes from the expansive database of the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) which PLDT and Smart have been granted access to following their membership with the IWF in April this year.

“We have extracted IWF’s complete list of links that host child sexual abuse materials or CSAM,” said Angel Redoble, chief information security officer at PLDT and Smart. “This has enabled us to block more than 10,000 links since we joined the organization. IWF continues to update its database and, as allies, we also receive the same updates every day.”

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IWF is a non-profit organization that works closely with various stakeholders to prevent OSAEC. Aside from taking reports from the public through their 47 reporting portals serving 2.4 billion people around the world, the IWF’s highly trained analysts actively search the internet for child sexual abuse images and videos. They then work with global partners to get these removed.

PLDT and Smart also said that they are able to prevent access to more than 13,000 URLs and domains that host sexually explicit materials featuring children. Prior to joining the IWF, PLDT and Smart have blocked more than 3,000 links through open-source threat intelligence gathering, purchasing available commercial threat intelligence, and receiving information from the government through law enforcement agencies.

PLDT and Smart have earmarked close to P2 billion this year to run the group’s advanced cybersecurity operations center, where cybersecurity analysts predict, prevent, detect, and respond to all types of cyber threats like phishing and scamming activities, including those related to OSAEC.