According to reports, at least 270 cases of  government websites being hacked were registered during 2017-18 alone.


NEW DELHI: Over 78,500 Indian websites were hacked between 2016 and 2018, according to information provided by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.  This has happened even as there has been growing use of technology and an upsurge in internet users, developments that have led to severe risks of cyber threats, with an increasing number of cases of hacking across the world and in India. 

There has been more than 270 cases of government websites been hacked between 2017 and 2018. While 172 government websites were hacked in 2017, 105 government websites were hacked till November 2018. Out of the total number of government websites that were hacked, more than 100 such websites were maintained and managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), as per the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. 

Not only this, over 3,500 cases of bank or financial fraud of over Rs 1 lakh, involving internet banking and credit and debit cards, had been reported between 2015 to 2018, according to data available with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 

Cyber experts have said that the situation in India is so bad due to a lack of digital literacy both at the level of the common people and government officials. 

Anupam Saraph, a renowned cyber expert, told The Sunday Guardian, “We are at an age where we are putting everything up on the internet without even looking at the concept of data certification. It is very easy for a hacker to hack into a website and change the content of the website, but if the data is certified, it becomes difficult for the hacker to do so.”

“We also need to educate our officials on digital India. Government officials do not even know how to respond to emails; so how can they be expected to design a website which is highly secure. Websites cannot be fail-proof and can be prone to hacking, but we need to take precautions. We have a long way to go towards achieving secure websites,” Saraph added. 

Some of the government websites like that of the National Security Guard (NSG) were hacked into last year, by suspected Pakistani operatives who posted anti-India contents on the NSG website after it was hacked. Earlier this year, nine of the government websites, including that of the Ministry of Defence and Home Affairs, were reportedly down for some time and were suspected to have been hacked.

Website defacements and phishing are the two top targets of hackers, with about 30,000 cases of website defacements being reported to Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-In). Out of these total cases of website defacements, .in and .com domains were the most targeted. 

However, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has said that it has been making efforts to make the public aware about cyber threats and has issued more than 28 advisories on the website of CERT-In from time to time for users and institutions. 

The ministry has also been monitoring all complaints through the CERT-In websites on any malware or hacking related contents and has also been advising banks to have cyber security audits.