The Ministry of Defense has confirmed that its official website was hacked on Friday. People trying to visit the site were initially being shown an error message with Mandarin characters, as seen in the embedded tweet from ANI. However, the site seems to be down for now, with the ministry presumably working towards restoring full services.
Ministry of Defence website hacked, Chinese characters appearing on the website home page. pic.twitter.com/VBzWXLC8EM
— ANI (@ANI) April 6, 2018
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also confirmed the breach and promised to take every possible step to prevent the repeat of such situations in the future. According to her, “Action is initiated after the hacking of the website. The website shall be restored shortly. Needless to say, every possible step required to prevent any such eventuality in the future will be taken”.
— रक्षा मंत्री कार्यालय/ RMO India (@DefenceMinIndia) April 6, 2018
The hacking of Indian government websites has been a regular occurrence with at least 114 such cases reported between April 2017 and January 2018. That’s according to Firstpost, which says that, as per the National Informatics Centre (NIC), 74 government websites hosted on NICNET were hacked during 2017. Six more websites have apparently been hacked already during the first two months of this year. The last high-profile hack came in February 2017, when the Home Ministry website was defaced by unidentified cyber criminals.
According to Scroll, hacktivist group Lulzsec India last month claimed to have hacked into a private section of the official Rajya Sabha website, bypassing username and password requirements. Alarmingly, hackers also claimed to have successfully hacked into BJP president and Rajya Sabha member Amit Shah’s official email inbox (on the Rajya Sabha domain), getting full access to messages and potentially confidential interactions between him and his colleagues.