Info-tech

Hackers on the prowl; break into Congress' 2 official Web sites

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 09, 2011

The defacement of the site comes amidst the ongoing debate over the recent Government move to crackdown on offensive content on social networking sites.



It is the hackers, not users of social networking sites, who need to be dealt with first.

Just days after the Communications and IT Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, stressed on norms to regulate online content, hackers on Friday broke into the official Web site of the Congress and posted objectionable material purportedly on Sonia Gandhi's profile.

Offensive content

“The hackers changed one para…put in obscenities…it was in the inner pages,” said AICC Computer Department Chief, Mr Vishwajeet Prithvijeet Singh.

He did not elaborate on which page the offensive content was posted.

Two sites of Congress — >aicc.org.in and >congress.org.in — were attacked, while a third mirror site — >inc.org.in — was unharmed. The online attack on the Congress sites came on the day the party chief turned 66.

“It (hacking) was brought to our notice around 10 a.m. and the site was immediately closed. It was back and running around 3 p.m.,” he said.

Mr Singh said a police complaint is yet to be filed. “We are conducting an investigation on the incident, including aspects such as the location from which the attack was launched,” he said.

Stating it was difficult to thwart every attack, Mr Singh pointed out, “even the most protected sites get hacked. No one is immune to hacking. We can investigate post-facto and ensure that the best firewalls are put in place.”

Bailable offence

The defacement of Congress' official site comes amidst the ongoing debate over the recent Government move to crackdown on offensive content on social networking sites. Hacking is an offence under Sections 43 and 66 of the IT Act and punishable with three years imprisonment and fine.

“However, it is bailable. We need stringent provisions and punishments to deter such attacks in cyberspace, and hence, these offences need to be made non-bailable,” cyberlaw expert Mr Pavan Duggal said.

> moumita@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 09, 2011

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