IRCTC Hack – Are Our Data Safe In The Hands Of Government?
Another Indian Government website hacked. On May, The Times of India reported that the Maharashtra sector of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited website was hacked which led to a lot of buzz in the social media regarding the security of 1 crore personal data being in jeopardy. India’s largest e-ticketing portal is under crude surveillance due to the news and investigation is still going on the IRCTC hack. One of the biggest e-commerce platforms in India, the IRCTC manages online reservations of lakhs of customers all over the nation and the news is really disturbing to all of them.
If the news is true then the IRCTC hack is the largest in the history of India and the personal data, including names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and even PAN card numbers can be used to forge false documents which is indeed a shock to all the customers. Let us delve into the details of the situation to analyze whether we should be concerned about our personal data or not.
This is the second time any major government website has been hacked. A few days earlier, another Indian Railway website, the Personal Department of the Central Railway, Bhusawal division, had been hacked by the Al Qaeda and a message had been left by the Al Qaeda chief, Maulana Aasim Umar, addressing the Muslims in India. The news about the IRCTC hack after that is thus quite disturbing. A lot of citizens have started to believe that our valuable data are no more safe in the hands of the government. So, is that true? Only God knows.
Al Qaeda hack of Indian government website
When the chief of Al Qaeda hacked the Indian Railway website, the Bhusawal Division of Personal Department of the Central Railway and left a message for the Indian Muslims, the news made our hairs stand on their ends. The message itself was quite disturbing-
“Why there is no storm in your ocean? A message for Muslims of India from Maulana Aasim Umar (May Allah protect him)”.
With terrorism spreading in the world like a deadly virus, this message is aimed to sow the seeds of hatred in the hearts of the Muslims in India and invite them to join the Jihad campaign. That is a real concern for the Indian citizens as the Muslims cover up to 1/3rd of the population of India. If they turn against us and a civil war begins, chances are, peace will be in shreds soon.
What are the consequences of an IRCTC hack?
If the IRCTC website was really hacked, it could mean that your personal data and that of lakhs of others could be forged into false documents and sold to malicious corporations aiming to destroy world peace in one way or the other. So, you see, there are valid reasons to be afraid. The government is trying hard to decipher the truth about the IRCTC hack and the Maharashtra State police has already been alerted.
A brief note about the cyber attacks on Government websites
This year, there has been several attempts to hack government websites (approximately 8,000) and the number has increased drastically from last year. Just a few days back in March, Google terminated a Pakistani app from the play store which revealed suspicious activities. The TRAI and JNU websites were also attacked. But the biggest news so far has been the Al Qaeda attack on the Central Railway website which created a lot of anxiety and tension in the minds of common citizens. Now, the IRCTC hack joins the queue.
What the Government is doing about these attacks?
It is true that the government is not sitting idle and cyber audit of all Railway facilities has been ordered. A 6-member team, consisting of top officials of IRCTC and security personnel are investigating on these attacks. Furthermore, The National Cyber Security Policy has already been released which is all set to handle the cyber security issue. Also a cyber crisis management plan has been formulated and set for implementation in all departments of the State and Central government. Lately, the PRO of IRCTC, Sandip Dutta has rubbished the rumors saying that there has been no IRCTC hack as such. But the question of security still remains.
It is natural to feel afraid about the increase in the rate of cyber attacks on Government websites. People are tweeting all about it as they feel their personal data, especially after the much hyped IRCTC hack, are no more secure at the hands of the Government. So, are we really heading towards a cyber collapse? Or these are just the side effects of an increased rate of digital activity in the country.
Personally, I feel that the government should be more careful about their cyber facilities and strict security policies should be implemented. As for now, there is no sign of a big threat but situation can turn otherwise if security measures are not improved. Let us know what you feel about the IRCTC hack and the current situation and how far do you think our government is trying to mend matters. Put down your comments and let us discuss on how to make the internet safer.