Govt slack on cyber crime, 15,000 sites hacked in 11

Written by Kirtika Suneja | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 11 2012, 08:13am hrs
With more than 15,000 Indian websites hacked in 2011, the government seems to have finally woken up to cyber crime. The department of information technology (DIT) is now circulating computer security guidelines and cyber security policy to all the ministries and departments on steps to prevent, detect and mitigate cyber attacks.

The instances of website defacement (wherein a website is hacked and its appearance changed) increased 7% from 2010, and more than half of the defaced sites had the .in domain.

The policy talks about combating cyber crime, which includes hacking, website defacements, identity theft, stealing and internet fraud. The policy is being finalised but hacking and defacement constitute less than 10% of all cyber threats but they are definitely an immediate threat, said a DIT official.

In fact, to tackle cyber crime, the DIT has set up 14 cyber forensic laboratories for various state governments and agencies like the CBI. It has partnered with Nasscom to set up labs in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Kolkata. Also, cyber labs are being put in all seven states of the northeast and one more centre has been opened recently in Srinagar.

However, the steps are clearly not sufficient and defacements of websites, especially those of the government, continue. From 14,348 websites hacked in 2010, the number rose to 15,219 in 2011.

An implementable cyber policy is still not in place and we are not sure of our readiness levels to face such cyber crime. Defacement is happening frequently and that too of government websites most notably of the CBI website that was defaced and couldn't be corrected for a week, said supreme court advocate Pavan Duggal.

The numbers have seen a rise despite the implementation of the IT Act, which has provisions to deal with cyber crime. The number of cybercrime cases increased from 142 in 2006 to 217 in 2007, and stood at 288 in 2008 a 100% jump from 2006.

Duggal added that the government policy on cyber crime has been reactive till now and not proactive as the issue has not been a priory area.