July 25, 2017
In a recent cyber-attack on government systems, around 58 government websites, including Ministry of Defense, Office of the Auditor General and Nepal Law Commission witnessed a cyber-attack by a group of hackers.
While some of the sites that were said to have been hacked were working until Monday evening, many of them remained suspended.
The group, ‘Paradox Cyber Ghost’ posted on Facebook a list of government websites including Ministry of Defense, Office of the Auditor General and Nepal Law Commission.
In a post-related conversation, it claimed that the act was just a vulnerability test and not for any other purpose.
“We hacked all your sites in three minutes,” the hacker’s group said, thus exposing the governmental sites’ vulnerability to cyber-attacks. To a question on why government sites were targeted, the group replied, “Government sites are more popular among hackers”.
“We have concluded that such activities have been recurring as the government websites lack uniformity and are handled in a haphazard manner. But there is no need to worry. This, however, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take initiatives to prevent such cyberattacks,” said Ram Adhar Shah, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Shah noted that the chances of stealing government secrets are unlikely as almost all the government agencies put public notices, acts & policies and programmes on their websites.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has already formed a three-member committee under Birendra Kumar Mishra, director general of the Department of Information Technology to investigate the matter.
Surprisingly, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police was unaware of the issue.
According to Binod Dhakal, President of Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) Federation, the state’s apathetic attitude towards the Information and Communication (IT) sector resulted in the issue.
It is noteworthy that this is not first such instance where government agencies are targeted. The Department of Passport site was hacked in the last month and the official site of the President of Nepal also witnessed a similar attack in July 2015.