Mumbai: Maharashtra Cyber Cell restores 70 websites hacked over Prophet remark controversy

The Maharashtra Cyber department has declined to reveal the names of all the affected websites as revealing their identities could amount to leaving them vulnerable to more such attacks.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 11:29 PM IST
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Even as the country reels from a sustained cyber attack on its websites, the Maharashtra Cyber department, over the last two days, has restored at least 70 hacked websites based in the state, including three government websites. These include the websites of the Thane Police, the Mumbai University and the Maharashtra Judicial Academy in Uttan, Thane district.

The Maharashtra Cyber department has declined to reveal the names of all the affected websites as revealing their identities could amount to leaving them vulnerable to more such attacks.

“After recent incidents of communal nature in various places in the country, we have observed by our monitoring of social media and other platforms that some hacker groups have given a call to hack and deface Indian websites. It is reported that many Indian sites have been attacked in the last three days,” said Madhukar Pandey, Additional Director General, Maharashtra Cyber.

All the hacked websites are being defaced with the same message, in which the hacker groups are referring to recent derogatory comments by now suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and stating that an insult to Prophet Mohammed will not be tolerated. The message further warns that the attacks will continue till India apologises.

All cyber cells in the country are currently coordinating with each other as well as the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and the National Informatics Center (NIC) to closely monitor and deal with the situation.

“We are also coordinating with the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Center wherever necessary. All units as well as NIC have been advised to examine the vulnerabilities in their websites and plug gaps. Some of these sites may become vulnerable while undergoing the transition to a safer environment. The exact nature of the attack is being investigated, but primary information suggests that its origin is in some east Asian countries. Legal action is being taken and we are in touch with relevant organisations,” added Pandey.

Another officer said that in an international cyber attack, even thinking of registering an FIR is useless because firstly, the perpetrators are based out of the country, and secondly, they are in hiding.

“We are gathering relevant technical details of each incident and sharing them with central cybercrime agencies. Meanwhile, as soon as we receive reports of any hack, we immediately assign a team to restore the website,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, Pandey dismissed reports of over 500 websites being hacked as reported in certain sections of the media.

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