Government websites down; suspects Chinese hackers, and finally denies any hack

About a dozen government websites including that of the defence ministry went down for more than eight hours last Friday, with rumors that they have been hacked by the Chinese. However, the government ruled-out any hacking.

Prajeet Nair Apr 10th 2018

The government of India is facing the wrath of hackers these days, after claiming their digital infrastructure to be very secure. Last Friday, April 6, websites of about 10 ministries including defence and labour ministries were apparently hacked. However, the officials from Indian government ruled out any cyber attack, and said their official sites were down due to technical glitches.

The government attributed the outage on a storage system crash at the datacenter where the sites are hosted, though the defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman initially said her ministry’s website was hacked into. She had tweeted: “Action is initiated after the hacking of MoD 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.”

On Friday, after many reports, and the website showed a Chinese character caused ruckus in the media, it was speculated that the websites have been hacked.

On the same evening GoI issued a statement which said government websites were not hacked, but they become inaccessible due to a technical fault, as confirmed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) which maintains the government websites.

The statement said, “The site showed what appeared to be a Chinese character and it was understandable that the site was perceived to be hacked. However, it has since been identified that the sites have not been hacked.” The defence minister then tweeted the clarification.

The release further said, “Since late afternoon of Friday, due to a technical issue in storage, about 10 Government websites hosted in the NIC datacenter became inaccessible to the public. The website of Ministry of Defence , MHA , Department of public enterprises, Election commission, EPFO, Ministry of Labour, Department of Science and Technology have since been up and running. The NIC team further assured the citizens that services would be restored soon for any other websites if they are facing any problems.”