Thursday, June 9, 2011
Indian Government web-sites need attention
The Hacker collective Anonymous joined the fight against Indian corruption by hacking the site of the Indian government IT website NIC, the National Informatics Center. Ostensibly the hack was a retaliation for the government’s violence against Indian activist Baba Ramdev, who had been staging a hunger strike to protest government corruption, which the government recently disbanded with violent force. The hack, which the group claims took just three minutes, displayed the above message on the site. NIC quickly moved to take the page offline, but a cached Google page confirmed the direct hit by Anonymous. The hack comes just days after Anonymous hacked the government database of Iran, exposing private emails from that country. While no data was stolen or exposed from this latest hack in India, Anonymous’ message was clear: the corruption of institutional forces runs against individual freedom.
A statement by Anonymous said, “Over fifty years ago, Indian Freedom Fighters laid down their lives for our freedom. In the end, what was it all for? Today our politicians ride slip-shod over our laws, corruption is rampant. If the brutal way Baba Ramdev’s hunger strike was crushed is anything to go by, it would seem that India is now on its way to becoming an undemocratic ‘democracy’.”
This is something really worth giving a thought, why all of sudden ANONYMUS has to voice for Indian issues, give a thought, you hackers may realize the fact and reason behind it.
In the past, we have witnessed many of our websites being hacked including India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), colleges, NGOs, Indian companies and religious organisations among others by Pakistani Hackers. And, in the recent past, ONGC website too was hacked by them. And now, there are many chances that they would target SAIL (Steel Authority of India) website as it has many vulnerabilities and can be easily hacked.
The unfortunate part is that in spite of being warned by Kaizen India Info – Sec Solutions Pvt. Ltd (A cyber security firm that is working towards making our country free from cyber threats) about the loopholes to SAIL authorities, no necessary actions have been taken so far. Similarly, Kaizen had also informed higher authorities of ONGC about the vulnerabilities in their website but they too did not pay heed to the warning and ultimately landed up getting hacked by Pakistani hackers. Sadly, whenever a website gets hacked, fingers are always pointed towards the hackers but the fact is that the website owners themselves are responsible for not taking proper care and leaving their websites open with all the loopholes inviting hackers to attack.
A tit-for-tat campaign has been in practice by groups on both Indian and Pakistani sides dating back to the late 1990s when tensions over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir brought the nuclear-armed neighbours to the brink of war.
In 2009, India’s one of the biggest banks Bank of Baroda, a global bank with a network of branches in India, and an international presence in 21 countries was hacked by Pakistani hacker group called Pakbugs.
“Indians place little or no value on the kind of data individuals and organisations in many countries prefer to keep confidential, like passport and bank account details or work contracts,” Cyber Expert Vijay Mukhi said.
"Privacy is a concept not rooted in India culture. I don't think we can change that and I don't think it's going to change in my lifetime," he added.
"The government doesn't care" about protecting information online. Corporates for some reason just don't want to spend the money. They don't think it happens often. Web security is a low priority," he said.
Very recently, the website of Sony BMG has been hacked and an anonymous poster has uploaded a user database to pastebin.com, including the usernames, real names and email addresses of users registered on SonyMusic.gr. This kind of company websites getting hacked not only affects the company itself but also the customers. Interestingly, many of the companies are insured and thus they get their losses recovered leaving the customers to suffer.
The question that arises is who will take action against these attacks? Government has been maintaining silence even though one after the other their websites are been attacked and details are been leaked or deleted. Is our government so weak? Now, after CBI, ONGC, Bank of Baroda and many other official websites, SAIL can be the next target. Hope that the SAIL authorities are listening and would take necessary steps towards protecting their website