The website of the Central Bureau of Investigation has been hacked by the Pakistan Cyber Army, which claimed that it did so in retaliation for the hacking of Pakistan government websites by a group called the Indian Cyber Army.
The message on the CBI website also mocked the agency over the lack of security measures and also questioned the manner in which the National Informatics Centre had put in place the security to safeguard government websites.
Immediate measures have been taken to rectify the problem since the CBI website is not only connected to all police stations in the country, but also directly linked to the Interpol. The agency has immediately launched a damage control exercise to avoid access to the sensitive data on the website.
The attack comes close on the heels of a major warning by intelligence agencies that Indian government websites may face severe attacks by Pakistan based hackers. The Intelligence Bureau had warned that Pakistan would launch a major cyber war and immediate steps had to be taken to secure the servers and websites.
The Pakistan Cyber Army, which is considered to be the most dangerous of the three Pakistan-based hacking groups, claim that the Indian Cyber Army had hacked into the oil and gas regulatory website in Pakistan. The group has therefore also hacked into the website of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
Indian authorities are trying to enlist the help of expert hackers to secure sensitive websites from such cyber attacks.
Though authorities have put together a set of hackers who have the required capabilities, they need clearance from the top echelons of security agencies to carry out the task legally. According to sources, the Pakistan Cyber Army enjoys the support of security agencies and hence they appear to be in a stronger position.
The expertise of the government machinery is not enough, say sources in the IB, and the help of hackers from the private sector was needed to combat this cyber menace.
India needs a dedicated cyber army to protect its websites, according to security experts. "We have seen many cyber attacks in the past and we should consider ourselves lucky that no serious damage has been done as yet. At the moment they only want to show that our system is weak and it is more of a game for them," said a source.
Meanwhile, the CBI has registered a case against unknown persons for hacking and defacement of its official website. The CBI registered the case under various sections of the Information Technology Act and said efforts were underway to restore the website for public interface at the earliest, an official spokesperson said.
In a brief statement, the spokesperson said, "It has come to the notice of the CBI that its official website was unauthorisedly accessed and defaced in the intervening night of December 3 and 4. A case has been registered in this connection in the cyber crime cell of the CBI and efforts are underway to restore the website with the help of the NIC and the CBI cyber security experts," the spokesperson said.