The government on Friday, 6 April, clarified that 10 government websites, were inaccessible earlier in the day due to a “technical issue”.
The latest statement refutes earlier reports and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s tweet which indicated the websites had been hacked.
The government said the glitch was due to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) facing difficulties caused by a storage problem.
Since later afternoon today, due to a technical glitch in storage, about ten government websites hosted in the NIC data centre became inaccessible to the public.Ministry of Defence
Earlier in the evening, the online portals of the Defence Ministry, the Law Ministry, Home Ministry and Labour Ministry were among the websites found to be inaccessible, with error messages.
However, within an hour of reports emerging of the website being down, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had confirmed that the ministry’s website had been hacked, assuring that steps would be taken to “prevent any such eventuality in the future.”
The Defence Ministry’s website had shown a Chinese character, along with an error message on its homepage.
The site showed what appeared to be a Chinese character, and it was understandable that the site was perceived to be hacked.MoD Statement
According to a user on Twitter, the Chinese character seen on the website reportedly translates to ‘meditation.’
CERT Issues Warning
Earlier in the day, the CERT, which is the government’s computer emergency response team, had issued a notification reporting a ‘vulnerability’ in the malware protection engine, stating that it could ‘help a remote attacker to execute code on the target system’.
This is not the first time that government websites have come under an attack. In fact, over 114 government portals were hacked between April 2017 and January 2018, Parliament was informed in March.
Early in 2017, some miscreants suspected to be Pakistanis, hacked the website of the National Security Guard, defacing it with an expletive message aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and an image of the police beating up civilians with accompanying text “Free Kashmir.”
A month later, the website of the Home Ministry was hacked, with the Ministry having to take down the website temporarily.