November 16, 2011

Indian Govt servers used for cyber attacks on China, other countries' networks

COMMENT: "The issue might look not so serious but it speaks volumes about our govt's approach towards serious issues.

And we are supposedly the IT superpower. More than NIC servers being hijacked by foreign hackers, what's disappointing and somewhat embarrassing is interdepartmental fighting that seem to trivialize a national security issue. While it is unreasonable not to expect interdepartmental friction, in our country (going by this report of course), the issue doesn't even seem to have the benefit of basic objective questioning/scrutiny which should gives answers as to who should be responsible for what. The way the article is written, it looks like the information was probably collected from one of the security agencies (may be NTRO). If it is true that IT dept is demanding powers for securing cyber infrastructure then it is really ludicrous. To protect the IT infrastructure, the IT dept would need information. Information about other countries' cyber capacities, capabilities, vulnerabilities etc. Is the IT dept going to take over the responsibility of snooping & sneaking into other countries' cyber space? Are they going to get into the domain of intelligence collection? Their argument is like saying, since the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, builds the roads, they should take over the responsibility of the country's defense. That's an ugly joke on national security.

In the midst of all this childish fights what seems to be getting overlooked is that if somebody can hack our NIC servers, then they can manipulate the messages in the email too. Doesn't this embarrass our government? Even North Korea's cyber warfare capabilities are said to be sophisticated. The only valid excuse the govt can give is that our ministers and bureaucracy aren't IT savvy and so they hardly use emails & so we are safe!! " -- RC


Govt servers used for cyber attacks on China, other countries' networks

Josy Joseph, TNN | Nov 17, 2011, 12.28AM IST

Foreign entities have penetrated the servers of the National Informatics Centre in recent months and used them to launch attacks on countries including China.
NEW DELHI: Investigators have unearthed a new and deadly pattern of cyber attacks in which Indian government servers have been used by foreign entities to target the computer networks of third countries.

The finding comes at a time when a dispute rages within the government over who should be responsible for protecting India's critical IT infrastructure. According to sources, foreign entities have penetrated the servers of the National Informatics Centre in recent months and used them to launch attacks on countries, including China. Among other things, the NIC hosts the official websites and emails of the Indian government.

"These attacks are mostly targeted against government networks of various countries," a source said, adding that the attacks were planned in such a way that investigators from the victim countries would believe that they were launched from Indian government servers. Investigators suspect foreign government entities, including intelligence agencies, have a hand in exploiting NIC servers. They say since the attacks were targeted against Chinese government servers too, there is no scope to blame China.

China had in August said that it had suffered about 250,000 cyber attacks from foreign entities, 8% of which had come from India. Sources now believe these attacks could be the result of the NIC servers being exploited by foreign entities.

Even as this new angle to India's IT infrastructure security emerges, a turf battle is raging within the government about who should be protecting it. Sources said both the department of IT and the National Technical Research Organisation-the technical intelligence agency created after the Kargil conflict-had laid claims to being responsible for safeguarding India's IT infrastructure.

The department of IT believes the job should vest with the Computer Emergency Response Team while the NTRO says it must have the responsibility for both defensive as well as offensive cyber security.

Meanwhile, conventional cyber attacks from foreign entities to extract confidential data from Indian government systems are on. Recently, the computer systems of the ITBP came under attack. There have also been attacks on the systems of the MEA, National Security Council secretariat and other departments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

NIC servers are weak in security because they don't pay much attention to them, they don't utilise their man power accordingly. I know this as i am part of this organisation.