20 government websites hacked

NEW DELHI: Even as the government has admitted hacking of about twenty websites of the centre and states including law enforcement agencies, a Centre for Communication Security, Research and Monitoring is to be set up during the Eleventh Five Year Plan.

The Centre would help national security agencies by using high-technology methods and practices to keep tabs on those who might use computer and telecommunication networks to violate law and national interests.


Official sources told that the websites hacked included one of Delhi Police, apart from those of institutions linked to several central state Governments. These include four of the Kerala Government, three of the Government of Andaman, one each of the Governments of Assam and Punjab, and seven of central ministries or institutions including the National Knowledge Commission and the Depart of Information Technology.

The communications and information technology ministry says that as the hackers are from outside the country, they are not under control of the government and hence no action can be taken against them as it would be difficult to identify them. In any case, action is only initiated by the network service provider.

All the sites were provided by the National Information Centre, the Ministry sources claim that NICNET computer systems hosting websites are located in a physically-protected zone and access to them is controlled using access control, intrusion prevention systems, anti virus software, and application level firewall policies. All websites are audited for vulnerabilities before hosting on computers.


Meanwhile, IT Minister Dayanidhi told Parliament this week that India stood third after Japan and the United Kingdom in adopting Cyber Security Standards prescribed by the International Standards Organization (ISO), according to information compiled by the International Information Management System User Group. A policy in protection of critical infrastructure was in place and a panel of 55 IT security auditors had been created by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), he added.

Activities like lawful interception, monitoring and analysis as well as telecom testing and security certification would be undertaken by the proposed centre, for which a sum of Rs 500 million has been set aside by the Planning Commission. The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-Dot) is to be the nodal agency to implement this scheme whch was approved by the Cabinet in March.

The primary aim of the Centre is to combat threats relating to the reported use of telecom infrastructure by undesirable social and criminal elements.

The scheme envisages setting up of a core platform and software would be executed at a location that would act as a centralised national hub for lawful interception and for telecom testing and security certification.


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