CBI believes cyber attack led to IGI airport's technical problems in June

The CBI's investigations into the failure of the passenger processing system at Delhi's IGI airport on 29th June show that the incident was the result of a possible cyber attack.
Written by Manan Kakkar, Contributor

On the 29th of June, passengers traveling from the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport’s Terminal 3 in Delhi were delayed and had to be manually checked-in for their flights. In a statement issued by Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), a back-end server glitch was said to be the reason.

Approximately 50 flights were affected when the Common Use passengers Processing System (CUPPS) failed. CUPPS handles check-in counters, boarding gates as well as information about the arrival and departure times for the terminal. The system was down for almost 12 hours and required joint efforts by ARINC, Wipro and DIAL to fix. A spokesperson from DIAL said, “No flights were cancelled. However, some flights were delayed by 15—25 minutes.” What seemed to be a simple technical failure is now being investigated as a virus attack on the system by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of India. According to reports, the CBI has registered a case under the IT Act, initial investigations show use of “malicious code” from an unknown remote location led to CUPPS failure.

The CBI believes triggering such scripts on the system involves experts with knowledge about the system and they had intentions of crippling the system. Being considered as a form of cyber attack, the CBI is looking for those responsible and the case registered as of now is against unknown individuals. Talking about the investigations, a CBI official said, “We found that there were serious security lapses. Once we receive the details, it will be analyzed to see if any official is involved. It appears that someone sitting at a remote location had operated the system. We have registered a case under the IT Act and other relevant section of the IPC.”

ARINC’s systems were deployed at IGI’s Terminal 3 and their country head, Guru Prasad Rao said, “We have lodged a complaint with relevant authorities and are cooperating with all the stake-holders including DIAL. The investigation into the matter is still pending.”

In July this year, during Hillary Clinton's visit to India, the two countries decided to work together against cyber-terrorism.

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