Late last night, reports surfaced online claiming that Al Qaeda had hacked the Indian Railways website. The terrorist outfit allegedly hacked the webpage for the Bhusawal division of Personnel Department of the Central Railway and posted a message by Maulana Aasim Umar, Al Qaeda’s chief in South Asia. Umar’s message was meant for Indian Muslims encouraging them to join the Jihad. This is however not the first time an Indian government website has been hacked. Here are a few other instances where government websites were hacked either as a mean for retaliation or to protest against something.
IRS website: Just last month, the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) web portal belonging to the Income Tax department was hacked by Pakistan-based groups. The website was defaced with messages like “Pakistan Zindabad” and “we are team Pak cyber attacker.”
ISIS: On Republic Day this year, reports surfaced that the ISIS was encouraging Indian hackers to attack government websites. The terror outfit was allegedly offering rewards in excess of $10,000 to hack into government websites and gain access to sensitive documents.
Kerala government website: Back in September last year, Kerala government’s website was allegedly hacked by Pakistan-based hackers. They defaced the website with a photo of a burning Indian flag, as well as pro-Pakistani slogans.
700 websites: Last year, Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad revealed that since 2012 more than 700 government websites hosted under ‘gov.in’ and ‘nic.in’ domains had been hacked. Fortunately, these websites only contained public information and no sensitive data.
Gujarat government website: At the beginning of last year, the website of the Director of Primary Education under state Education Department was hacked by Pakistani hackers. The website’s homepage was defaced with ‘derogatory remarks’ on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Goa government websites: In 2014, almost 20 state government websites for Goa are said to have been hacked by Palestine and Pakistan-based hackers. These included websites of the Governor, Chief Electoral Officer, and departments of Land Records, Civil Supplies, Right to Information and a local municipal council.
Press Club of India: In what is seen as a revenge for hacking Pakistan People’s Party’s website, the Press Club of India’s website was hacked by someone called ‘Maddy Zeox’. The hacker created a meme of Narendra Modi being mocked by Despicable Me’s famous minions, along with a message — ‘Muslims are not Terrorists’.
DRDO: In 2012, a hacker group called SanFour25 hacked the websites of the adviser to the Prime Minister and the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). While no sensitive information was leaked, the government shut these websites momentarily as a precautionary measure.
Anonymous: Protesting the government’s decision to block popular video sites like Vimeo and file-sharing sites, the Anonymous hacker group brought down the websites of the Supreme Court and the Congress party. They also posted a message — ‘Namaste #India, your time has come to trash the current government and install a new one. Good luck. | #SaveTPB#Anonymous #Censorship’.
Andhra Pradesh government: In 2012, as many as 27 websites belonging to the Andhra Pradesh government were hacked. The websites affected belonged to the departments of commercial taxes, general administration, horticulture, factories, gazette notifications and government orders.
Border Security Force: A Bangladesh-based hacking group called ‘Bangladesh Black HAT Hackers’ claimed to have hacked around 20,000 Indian websites in 2012. These included government websites, and the most prominent was the website of the Border Security Force (BSF).