India: 112 govt sites hacked in 3 months

Sites hacked or defaced include those from state-owned telcos and government agencies, reveals Minister of State for Communications and IT, who adds the government now working to upgrade skills to cope with hackers.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

An Indian government official on Wednesday revealed that 112 government sites had been hacked or defaced in the last three months. However, he said online fraud cases fell and noted that the Indian government was upgrading its skills to tackle the evolving threats from hackers.

The affected sites included those operated by the country's Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance, Human Resource Development Ministry, state-owned telecom operator, Bharat Sanchar Nigam, as well as various government agencies in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and Manipur, according to a Thursday report in the Times of India. The report cited a written statement submitted by Minister of State for Communications and IT, Sachin Pilot, to the Indian parliament.

In addition, the Web site of another state-owned telecom operator, BSNL, was attacked on Dec. 4 by a Pakistani hacker group named, "H4tr!ck", marking the fourth time the company's site had been hacked, Pilot noted.

However, the minister pointed out that the number of Internet frauds with losses of 100,000 rupees (US$1,991.2) and upward, dropped to 125 in 2011, from 269 cases reported three years ago.

About 1,800 cases of Internet fraud were reported in 2011, falling from 2,234 cases reported the year beofre. However, the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation's Economic Offenses arm registered only three cases last year, most of which were related to payment and e-commerce fraud through stolen credit cards.

Pilot added that the amount involved in Internet frauds declined from 123 million rupees (US$2.4 million) in 2010 to 7.8 million rupees (US$1.6 million) last year.

In a separate report by The Hindu, Pilot also noted that the Department of Information Technology and the National Informatics Centre (NIC)--which hosted the majority of government sites--were upgrading their skills to tackle the ever-growing threat from hackers. Firewalls were upgraded and new filters were added to ensure hackers could not target government Web sites.

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