Indian government ropes in white hat hackers to counter hack attacks

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14-Dec-2016

 

To combat online security threats exposed by hacker group Legion, the Indian government has roped in white hat hackers, two sources familiar with the development told FactorDaily.

One of the sources is himself a white hat hacker who has been engaged by the government. White hat hackers are specialists who help secure cyber infrastructure for the government, enterprises and individuals. They test networks and systems for vulnerabilities before malicious hackers (known as black hat hackers) get to them.

The Legion hacks come at a time when the government is trying to push for Digital India and is urging the country to go cashless. According to the white hat hacker who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to announce “certain measures in the next few days” with respect to the situation that’s playing out.

According to the white hat hacker who spoke to us on condition of anonymity, PM Narendra Modi is set to announce “certain measures in the next few days” with respect to the current situation  

The source, however, did not want to divulge further details. But, these are likely to be security measures that the government has worked on with the ethical hackers.

A Legion member in an interview to FactorDaily on Monday claimed that the Indian banking system can be easily hacked. Although they did add they wouldn’t do it, surely the government isn’t taking any chances.

The white hat hacker confirmed to us that many of the Indian banks are indeed vulnerable, can “easily be cracked into” and safeguards need to be put in place. Government systems are also lax when it comes to digital security, he said.

Legion in its interview to FactorDaily also said that their next hack would be of sansad.nic.in, followed by a document dump. Sansad.nic.in hosts emails of government employees. “Next is a dump of sansad.nic.in emails. Which is — quite big It includes a lot of _BIG FISH_,” the Legion member said.

Legion in its interview to FactorDaily also said that their next hack would be of sansad.nic.in, followed by a document dump. Sansad.nic.in hosts emails of government employees  

On Tuesday, The Economic Times reported that the ministry of electronics and IT has ordered a series of measures to strengthen India’s cyber security. These include audit of the financial sector, starting immediately with the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), review of the IT Act to make it stronger, and setting up a crack team to respond to unusual incidents on a war footing, the report said.

The hacker group has so far compromised the accounts of several prominent public figures and entities including Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, fugitive Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya, and NDTV journalists Barkha Dutt, and Ravish Kumar.

They also claim to have “rooted” Net4 and Logix — both companies provide web services like hosting and email to a long list of corporate clients. Having “root access” to a device or system means that they have complete access to its files. Legion said that television network NDTV has also been rooted.


Disclosure: FactorDaily is owned by SourceCode Media, which counts Accel Partners, Blume Ventures and Vijay Shekhar Sharma among its investors. Accel Partners is an early investor in Flipkart. Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the founder of Paytm. None of FactorDaily’s investors have any influence on its reporting about India’s technology and startup ecosystem.


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