Rising from Poverty to Leading the Battle Against Child Pornography

Group Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT Group & Smart Communications

Meet Sir Angel T Redoble, a visionary leader in the field of cybersecurity, renowned for developing the world’s first software designed to combat child pornography and protect against various internet threats. As the Group Chief Information Security Officer at PLDT Group & Smart Communications, the largest telecommunications firm in the Philippines, Sir Angel has dedicated his career to making the digital world a safer place.

CIO World Asia spoke with Sir Angel T Redoble about his remarkable achievements and explore how his pioneering work has transformed the landscape of cybersecurity and child protection.

The Journey and Driving Force To Succeed

Sir Angel’s journey into cybersecurity was not an easy one. Born into poverty, Sir Angel left his hometown at 18, becoming the sole breadwinner for his family. In 1996, he discovered the emerging field of cybersecurity and recognized its potential for high-risk, high-reward opportunities. Determined to provide for his loved ones, Sir Angel delved into the world of internet security, devouring limited resources to gain knowledge and expertise.

Through dedication and perseverance, Sir Angel secured his first position with an internet service provider, steadily climbing the ranks within the industry. Today, he holds the esteemed position of Group Chief Information Security Officer and serves as the program director for the cybersecurity course at the Asian Institute of Management.

Throughout his journey, Sir Angel witnessed the gaps in child protection against cybercrimes, particularly in vulnerable communities like his own. Driven to act, he channeled over two decades of cybersecurity experience into a ground-breaking initiative. Collaborating with Singaporean security service provider IPDC, Sir Angel conceptualized the Global Chain of Trust (GCOT), a comprehensive framework to combat Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC). Through GCOT, he aimed to create a safer digital environment for millions of vulnerable youths and children.

” It was the necessity of survival that made me switch my career focus to cybersecurity. However, today it is no longer just about the money, but the wider community that will benefit from the work that the cybersecurity industry can do, and that keeps me going.” Sir Angel explained.

Inspiration and Conceptualization: Addressing OSAEC and Creating GCOT

With a constant focus on helping others, every decision Sir Angel made was driven by the question, “How can I help people?” Recognizing that his work in cybersecurity not only influenced himself but also the surrounding environment and society, this mindset has played a crucial role in shaping his career and personal growth. It has consistently fueled his passion for the cybersecurity industry, motivating him to remain dedicated over the years.

Inspired by the goal of safeguarding vulnerable individuals from cybersecurity threats and combatting the pervasive issue of online sexual abuse and exploitation in my home country, there is a constant drive to acquire new skills and knowledge to innovate and enhance the cybersecurity industry.

As a response to the challenges faced by the Internet sphere, including global cyberattacks, hacking, and the uncontrolled proliferation of child exploitation content, the GCOT emerged. Positioned as the world’s first cybersecurity technology specifically designed to protect the Domain Name System (DNS) layer, the GCOT operates in collaboration with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to establish a secure and reliable Internet environment.

How GCOT Creates a Safer Digital Sphere

GCOT aims to address the existing chaos within today’s internet, which is often exploited by cybercriminals. By responding to international demands for collaboration and innovation, the GCOT strives to safeguard our children, national security, and critical infrastructures. Through its implementation, the GCOT seeks to eliminate the vulnerabilities that cybercriminals exploit, bringing about a more secure and structured internet environment.

Becoming a victim of child exploitation and accessing materials that can harm theirage–appropriate development are 2 main threats to children on today’s internet.

GCOT proactively blocks hazardous information and sites from the initial starting point. Presently, identifying such dangerous sites relies on their validation and verification, a step illegitimate websites avoid due to legal consequences. Consequently, the internet infrastructure has become largely unsafe for casual users.

Telcos that implement GCOT ensure that their users can only access legitimate websites in compliance with national laws and regulations. GCOT eliminates any possibility of backdoor access to illegitimate sites and dangerous content. Internal testing of the GCOT has demonstrated its ability to establish a cleaner, safer, faster, and more resilient internet environment.

The Current Cybersecurity Landscape

In the current cybersecurity landscape, we can expect further technological advancements and innovations. These developments will lead to the creation of more intelligent technologies.

However, there is a downside to this progress. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods. As a result, businesses need to consistently upgrade their cybersecurity measures to effectively combat this costly threat, which requires highly skilled individuals. Currently, businesses are facing a shortage of individuals with the necessary skills to provide comprehensive cybersecurity protection. Consequently, there has been a noticeable increase in cyberattacks year after year, resulting in economic losses and data breaches.