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92 Websites of Indian Centre and State Governments Hacked in Past Two Years: MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar

NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, revealed that 92 website hacking incidents, belonging to both the Centre and State Governments, have been reported. Chandrasekhar shared this information during a parliamentary question and answer session on cybersecurity-related queries.

The minister also disclosed that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) had observed 14,02,809 cybersecurity incidents in 2021 and 13,91,457 cybersecurity incidents in 2022, including 42 and 50 incidents of hacking of websites belonging to the Central Government and the State Governments, respectively.

Chandrasekhar stated that CERT-In notified affected organisations and coordinated incident response measures with affected organisations, service providers, respective sector regulators, and law enforcement agencies.

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Indian cyber security company CloudSEK noted that the government agencies in India have also become popular targets for extensive phishing campaigns, while China’s government also saw a spike in cyber attacks, particularly by APT (advanced persistent threat) groups in 2021.

To conceal the identity of the real systems from which threat actors launch attacks, attackers hack computer systems located in different parts of the world and use masquerading techniques and hidden servers.

According to the minister, cyber-attacks pose a threat to confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and services. These attacks may have an indirect or direct impact on the economy of businesses and service providers.

The government is taking several steps to improve India’s cybersecurity posture and reduce such threats. These include developing a Cyber Crisis Management Plan for the Central, State Governments, and their organisations, as well as vital sectors. The plan will help combat cyberattacks and cyberterrorism.

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CERT-In also regularly conducts training sessions for network and system administrators and Chief Information Security Officers of government and critical sector organisations on protecting IT infrastructure and preventing cyberattacks. Additionally, CERT-In provides alerts and advisories covering the most recent cyber threats, vulnerabilities, and mitigation strategies to secure computers and networks.

The National Cyber Coordination Centre has been established to create situational awareness about current and potential cybersecurity threats. MoS Chandrasekhar mentioned that mock drills are conducted to assess the cybersecurity posture and preparedness of organisations in the government and critical sectors. So far, 74 such drills have been conducted, and over 900 organisations from different states and sectors have participated.

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Chandrasekhar emphasised that the government is dedicated to ensuring that the Internet is accessible, trustworthy, and accountable for its users. He noted that several legislations are being worked on to safeguard India’s online space.

The minister acknowledged the need to remain vigilant against cyber threats, as attackers continue to develop new strategies and exploit well-known flaws. However, the government’s proactive measures and initiatives should serve as a reminder to businesses and organisations to prioritise cybersecurity and take necessary precautions to safeguard against cyber threats.

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