Indian government Web sites are under attack. This has prompted the Department of Information Technology to draw plans for better security measures, including relocating servers where the sites are present to Indian Territory.
According to statistics released by the government, the past few months have seen a rash of attacks against Web sites of bodies like the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Indian Railways, Department of Telecom, Air Cargo Customs and National Institute of Social Defence. These attackers used several tactics to compromise the sites. Phishing seemed to be a hot favorite, followed by unauthorized scanning and virus injection. Defacing was also one of the most used tactics with attackers defacing the Web site of even the Department of Information Technology, the nodal body which is in charge of cyber security. Talk about guarding the guards.
The Home Ministry has sounded out the alert after these hacking incidents and has suggested that all government sites be hosted on Central or State government servers. This is because most if the affected sites have been hosted offshore on privately owned servers. That means that these servers, hosting sensitive information sometimes related to national security are not within the jurisdiction of Indian authorities. The MHA wants all the sites moved to servers hosted by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) or Education and Research Network (ERNET). To prevent these attacks from occurring again, a DIT body, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), is installing tools like a network flow based threat assessment solution and attack detection system. Additionally it has drafted a set of guidelines involving issues related to network security and architecture, firewalls, intrusion detection systems; secure coding practices, etc., for securing Web sites in the future.