Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Jul 19, 2002
Hacking of Indian Govt Web sites on the rise
NEW DELHI, July 18
NOT many would be aware that the official Web site of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) (www.trai.gov.in) was hacked a couple of days ago by a group supporting the Kashmir militants.
Mainly due to the fact that the Web site was up and running again in a record four hours once it was brought to the notice of the authorities concerned.
The message left by the hackers on the Web site read: ``The site TELECOM REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF INDIA has been defaced by Abunasar of FBH For The Freedom of India Occupied Kashmir Greetz to macwiz Numan JenKinZ Mr BaSIT aTIF anD the cooldude FBHowns@yahoo.com.''
While the hacking of the Government-related Web sites is nothing new, the alarming fact is that the "defacers" have been doing it on a regular basis. While most of the hacking events go unreported in the media, according to Project India Cracked (PIC), a Web site (www.srijith.net/indiacracked) which has been tracking the "India related hacking" since April 2000 has estimated that as many as 685 such Web sites have been defaced over the past two years.
The project which has been launched by an enterprising 25 year old Indian, Mr. K. Srijith, who is doing his masters at the National University Singapore, claims its objective is to bring to light the large number of Indian themed sites that are being defaced by crackers.
``This is the second year of operation and I am saddened by the way things have not changed in these 2 years. Defacements have been going on at regular intervals and no counter measures seems to have be taken. Media has taken up the subject and India Cracked has been quoted on several occasions. However, the higher powers seems to be ignorant of the problems or consider them too insignificant,'' Mr Srijith notes.
As he points out the sites are cracked for 3 main purposes fun, to prove expertise and political propaganda. For India related hacking, it is the third reason which is usually applicable. Propaganda of Pakistan supported `Jihad' in Kashmir takes the centre stage.
However, the poor security in place on the sites and the incapability of site administrators are the technical reasons that allow hacking to take place unhindered.
As per the statistics provided by the PIC, this month alone 12 Indian Web sites have been hacked, the last one being that of NTPC (www.ntpc.nic.in) on Tuesday.
The year 2002 has seen as many as 130 defaced Web sites, as against 425 Web sites in the entire 12 months of 2001 and 129 Web sites in the year 2000. Further, this year, January has accounted for the highest number of hackings at 49 and April at 39. Going by the record this month, it could well move ahead of the earlier months.
The PIC statistics also note that of the defaced sites over the past two years, the hackers have found favour with those ending with .com (325 Web sites) , followed by ".co.in" (112), "ernet.in" (56), "nic.in (40), "ac.in" (31), "gov.in" (28) and "net.in" (23) among others. While among the hacker groups, the majority of defacing has been done by a group calling itself AIC (142), followed by Gforce Pakistan (116), Silver Lords (101), WFD (50) and The BuGz (12).
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