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CID probes cop website hack case

The CID has registered a case in connection with hacking of the Assam police website by cyber criminals claiming to be from Pakistan.

By Pankaj Sarma in Guwahati
  • Published 13.10.15
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Policemen stand guard at the entrance of the Assam police headquarters in Guwahati. File picture

Guwahati, Oct. 12: The CID has registered a case in connection with hacking of the Assam police website by cyber criminals claiming to be from Pakistan.

An official source today said a case (number 50/2015) has been registered at CID police station under Sections 65 and 66F of the Information Technology Act, 2000, based on a complaint lodged by the Assam police headquarters about hacking and defacement of its website, www.assampolice.gov.in.

The source said a team, comprising officials of the CID’s cyber crime investigation cell and headed by an officer of the rank of additional superintendent of police, had been constituted to investigate the case.

The Assam police website, which has a domain name registered with the National Informatics Centre (NIC), is hosted by a private firm called Web.com (India) Pvt Ltd.

The CID has sought the server log records of the website from the NIC, which is the exclusive registrar for government website domain names. The log records will provide details of every visit to the site.

The source said after a preliminary probe, the Internet protocol (IP) address of the hackers was traced to a European country.

“It is believed that the trail may finally lead to Pakistan. It is suspected that the hackers might have entered the server through the IP address of the European country, using some software to hide their actual IP address,” he said.

The hackers had defaced the homepage of the website and inserted a page with a picture of burning of the Indian flag, on October 4. They had also posted slogans like “Pakistan Zindabad”, “Hacked by Faisal 1337”, “We Are Team Pak Cyber Attacker”, “Indian Official Website Hacked” and “Security is just an Illusion”. Following the attack, the website had to be temporarily shut down for restoration.

The source said the site had only general information about Assam police and no “secret or classified” information. However, the incident exposed flaws in cyber security.

He said the CID would also investigate if there was any loophole, which was exploited by the hackers in penetrating the server and would suggest corrective measures.

“The CID will also investigate whether Web.com (India) had conducted a security audit of the website at regular intervals and if there was any lapse on the part of the firm,” he said.

The government has engaged auditors to certify the security of government sites. However, many such websites are not audited for IT security and do not have proper security checks in place, which makes them vulnerable to cyber attacks.

According to the source, the same hackers are suspected to be involved in hacking a Kerala government website last month, as they had also used the name Faisal 1337.

He said apart from the Assam police website, 20-odd websites of other government departments and agencies in the state were recently hacked and defaced by hackers claiming to be from Pakistan.

These include the websites of Assam Higher Secondary Education Council, Assam Women’s Commission, Pollution Control Board Assam, Directorate of Information and Public Relations Assam, Railway Recruitment Board Guwahati and the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology.