On Sunday morning, India’s southern Kerala state woke up to the news of the state government’s official website (www.Keralagov.in) being hacked by Pakistani hackers, who posted image of a burning Indian flag.
The hackers had left messages such as "Pakistan Zindabad", "We are Team Pak Cyber Attacker" and "Security is just an illusion". The page also carried the identity of the hacker; “hacked” by Faisal 1337”. The Home Page also contained the website address www(dot)Faisal1337(dot)com.
However, preliminary reports suggested the hackers were could not get past the home page and into the server hosting this website.
This news spread like fire over social media and the issue instead of being a government website being hacked turned into being an attack on India by the neighbouring country. But few expected that within a span of few hours an Indian hacking group with the name of “The Mallu Cyber Soldiers” will payback the favour.
The Indian hacking group had hacked over 100 official websites of Pakistani government and posted message on their websites- “Better stay away from Indian Cyber Space”.
They also posted a message on their facebook page.
" !!Message to Script Kiddies of Pakistan ....Do not touch Indian Websites !!! Now your 46 Pakistan government websites got crashed and 4 educational websites got defaced This is a small payback for hacking kerala.gov.in "
They also posted a list of websites which were crashed. Few included Pakistan’s government website Pakistan.gov.pk, president.gov.pk and cabinet.gov.pk.
But the war did not cyber war did not there. In the same message, the group ‘Hell Shield Hackers’ stated that the motive behind this attack was to retaliate against the attack on the Kerala government’s website.
Often gunfire exchanges across the border seem to take place. During the cricket matches also between the two countries, the rivalry of the two nations are frequently seen but now a full-blown hacking and defacement war seems to have simultaneously erupted in cyber space.
This is not the first time that the hacking has taken place between the two nations.
In October 2014, a Malayali actor and producer, Mohanlal Viswanathan Nair’s website was hacked by a group known as Cyber Warriors, who had posted several "Free Kashmir slogans" and warned Indian Army about their activities in the Kashmir valley.
The Government from both the nations have nothing to do with it.
Hacking the government sites exposes the vulnerability of official websites.
Though it was just a defacement and officials told that the server of Kerala Government’s website is safe. Yet, the incident calls for a better cyber security mechanism.
The Indian public sees this retaliation as ‘revenge’. However, it’s an issue much more than patriotism.
Hackers mostly target large organisations, government or community websites which store personal information of thousands or millions of users.
While the Modi government talks about digitizing India, incidents like these highlight the importance for improved cyber security which comes foremost and is a much important issue before the digitization of the country.
While the USA and China are entering into a cyber security agreement, the Indo Pak cyber hack games continue unabated which exposes the weak cyber security of both the nations.