73 websites hacked every day in India, 2021 saw highest cyber breaches in four years

5 days ago 17

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New Delhi: India witnessed heightened cyber activity over the past few months, with hackers, mostly from outside the country, infiltrating or trying to infiltrate government websites and accounts in the backdrop of the Nupur Sharma incident. While enemy countries often employ cyber espionage tactics to steal data or cripple critical infrastructure, this time, it was mostly mischief mongers trying to prove a point. The government has a robust mechanism to avoid such unwanted incidents, but the same cannot be said for other websites, which are often found wanting on the cyber security front. It is for this reason that incidents of hacking into government websites and accounts comprise only a fraction of the total cyber breaches in India. 

According to Lok Sabha data, a total of 160,560 Indian websites were hacked between 2016 and 2021. This translates to a mind-boggling 73 websites every day! Notably, government websites accounted for only 0.5 per cent (812) of the total websites targeted. With 28,897 cyber attacks, including on 186 government websites, 2021 reported the highest such incidents in the last four years. 

Some of the major cyber attack and data breach incidents in the recent past involved SBI (2019), Covid-19 test results (2021), Air India (2021) and Domino’s (2021). 

A CERT-In analysis showed that the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of computers from where the attacks originated belonged to China, Pakistan, Russia, France, Taiwan, Algeria, Tunisia and some other countries. CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team), which operates under the ministry of electronics and information technology, is the nodal agency to deal with cyber security threats. 

The Indian government has taken several measures to enhance cyber security and prevent attacks. CERT-In issues regular alerts and advisories regarding the latest cyber threats and has formulated a ‘Cyber Crisis Management Plan’ for implementation by all government departments. All government websites and applications are audited before and after their hosting. Training is also provided to stakeholders and mock drills are conducted to deal with such issues. 

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