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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Over 1K govt sites hacked since ’09 Miserly Attitude To Spending On Security Blamed

Mumbai: The MTNL Mumbai portal on Thursday night became one of the 1,300-odd websites run by the government or allied agencies that have been hacked into since 2009. 

    Cyber expert Vijay Mukhi blames the situation on a lack of awareness and the tight-fisted attitude of government departments and public sector agencies when it comes to cyber technology upgrades and security. 
    "We really don't understand why government departments do not spend a little money on securing the country's vital data," he said. "This laxity is making the country's cyberspace vulnerable to intruders." 
    The MTNL site was defaced by self-proclaimed Pakistani hackers 
around Thursday midnight. The MTNL website was disrupted by a hacking group last year as well. 
    MTNL executive director Piyush Agrawal on Saturday ruled out any laxity in securing the website. Agrawal said MTNL periodically trained network maintenance staff through professional network security companies. 
    MTNL claims that only the webpage and server logs—files created by the server of the activities performed by it—were damaged, but cyber experts do not rule 
out the possibility of hackers having obtained subscribers' addresses, phone numbers and other data. 
    "They (hackers) can stop Mumbai's phone network and know who called whom," Mukhi said. "They can reduce or hike the bills too. They can delete software that ran the network. If you remember, an American-Israeli virus had put Iran's nuclear programme back by a couple of years." 
    Following a complaint lodged by MTNL, the crime branch at Fort registered an FIR and police offi
cers visited the MTNL server office on Saturday. The MTNL Mumbai server was frozen and shifted to a forensic lab. 
    In the next few days, investigators are expected to consolidate details to know whether the hackers hailed from within the country or did their mischief from beyond the borders. 
    Investigators also hope to know from the server which data was accessed or damaged. 
    Besides the cyber police, three more teams have been deployed for separate investigations. 
    These three teams are drawn from a professional network security agency, MTNL experts, and the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), Delhi. 
    "Investigations by these teams will also help us formulate guidelines to secure servers so that such incidents are not repeated in the future," Agrawal said. 
    MTNL does not have as many cellphone users as other service providers, but it is the dominant player in the broadband and landline telephony market. 

MTNL WEBSITE HACKING PROBE 
MTNL server sent to forensic laboratory for investigations 
Four separate investigations are to be conducted, by a network security agency, MTNL experts, Computer Emergency Response Team (Delhi) and city's cyber cops 
Guidelines to secure the server are being sought from experts


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