New Delhi: With hackers across the borders wagging a cyber war, India’s security agencies are now busy protecting the country’s cyberspace from these new mode of infiltration, and surprise checks of government computers would be carried out to check preparedness.
In the cyberspace, hackers from China and Pakistan pose a major threat to the country. Many cyber attacks in recent months were traced back to Chinese IP addresses, a security expert said.
The issue of cyber war came to the light following hackers, suspected to be from mainland China, making intrusions into secure computer systems of the Ministry of External Affairs.
Hacking groups from China and even Pakistan is very active in India, Tarun Wig from Appin Technologies said.
“Post Godhra riot, a hacker group from Pakistan - GForce - had defaced the website of the Gujarat government to post their own message,” he said.
Hackers usually wreck into a system either to prove their might or to get confidential information.
Recently, a hacker from a European country had hacked India’s Ambassador to China Nirupama Rao’s official email. On questioning, he had said that his intentions were only to show how weak the computer systems in India were.
Security experts feels that these kind of attacks enable hackers to map the IT infrastructure of a country and disable the networks during a conflict. For example, if any hacker can break into a system of Delhi metro service or the other critical services that runs on the internet, then they can pull down the whole system.
To prevent such security incidents, CERT-IN, the official watchdog that tracks hacking of government networks has already sent letters to all public sector utilities to perform a security audit on priority basis.
“In order to reduce risk of cyber attacks and improve upon the security posture of critical information infrastructure, government and critical sector organisations, we have written to all of them giving them guidelines required to be followed on a priority basis,” an official from CERT said, adding that this is a regular exercise to ensure the Indian cyberspace is secure.
CERT sent the guidelines the such utilities last year and warned them about security threats, he said.
As per the guidelines, the organisations need to carry out audit of information on an annual basis by an independent IT security auditing organisation.
CERT-In had already empanelled third party agencies for their organisation and site specific internet security assessment services, he added.
According to statistics of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), which take care of computer security in the country, 612 websites were defaced in March compared to 214 websites in February.