Did Chinese hackers try to break into the website of the Delhi Chief Election office? The matter is under probe why search engine of Delhi Election Office had become unresponsive hours before Delhiites voted to elect the new members of the Delhi Assembly on December 4.
Preliminary investigations have found that the website of Delhi Election Office was accessed from Noida via Chinese servers. Though the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computers was found to be in Noida, the servers were based in China. The spate of cyber attack was such that the search engine of the website almost stopped functioning.
The search engine became unresponsive on the intervening night of December 3 and 4. It could not be restored till the polling came to an end on December 4. The first attempt by the hackers was made on the data base of the website but they could not succeed as the firewalls blunted their attack. The hackers then trained their guns on the search engine and succeeded in paralysing it. However, the Election office and the IT experts proved equal to the task by safeguarding the data base and blunted the hackers’ attempts
Top sources said that there were 50,000 hits within two hours and the website became unresponsive. Though the SMS/call centre facility remained untouched and that saved the day for the election office. The matter was brought to the notice of Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) of the Union Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology to look into the issue.
CERT was astonished to find that the website was accessed from Noida via Chinese servers. Apparently the hackers had broken into the IP addresses of the computers stationed in Noida. Following the attack, election office had called an emergency meeting of IT experts on December 3 to assess the cyber attack. Officials say that hackers could not hack the data base but they managed to hit the search engine. Officials say that it seems to be a conspiracy but the motive is yet to be established as CERT experts have not completed their investigations.
“The election office website is in public domain as it disseminates information about the election process to the people. Why they were interested in knowing the details of the Delhi polls is yet to be ascertained,” said officials. Following this cyber attack, the Election Commission of India is now planning to buy equipment to tackle such attacks during elections, particularly ahead the General Elections.
According to a confidential CERT-In report, cyber attacks against Indian websites have increased exponentially in 2013. The report says that 4,191 Indian websites were defaced or hacked into in August, 2,380 in July, 2,858 in June and 1,808 in May this year. An overwhelming percentage of these attacks occurred in the .in domain, whose servers are in India – 80 per cent in June and over 60 per cent thereafter. The .in domain appears particularly vulnerable to attacks. Of the 2,380 Indian websites that were defaced in July, 1,511 were on .in domain and in June the number stood at 2,296 sites.
A report by the Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Lab revealed that an ongoing hacking attack dubbed Net Traveller has hit hundreds of victims in 40 countries since 2005 or 2004, “with the highest number in Mongolia, India and Russia.” It would be interesting to mention here that similar cyber attacks had taken place from United States and China on the website of the Election Commission of India during 2009 Indian elections.
Source : The Pioneer