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[ISN] Both Sides Hacked Over Kashmir
From: InfoSec News (isnC4I.ORG)
Date: Sat Dec 23 2000 - 17:50:54 CST
by Manu Joseph
2:00 a.m. Dec. 23, 2000 PST
MUMBAI, India -- In the computer-infatuated subcontinent, Y2K will go
down, among other things, as the year when the India-Pakistan
technology war reached a crescendo.
More than 40 Indian sites have been infiltrated this year by hackers
like G Force Pakistan and Doctor Nuker, who have left poignant
pro-Pakistan slogans and reasons why Kashmir belongs to that country.
Among the prominent Indian sites that have been defaced this year are
those belonging to the Indian Parliament, the Indian army in Kashmir,
prominent television network Zee, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre,
newspaper Asian Age and the Indian Institute of Science.
Corporate sites like Glaxo Wellcome's have been attacked as well.
It's been something of a two-way street, although the assault on
Pakistani sites by Indian hackers has not been as substantial.
The Pakistani government's site, pakgov.org, for example, has been
defaced by those who claim to be "patriot Indians." There have also
been reports that Indian hackers have repeatedly tried unsuccessfully
to hack into the Internet edition of a popular moderate Pakistani
newspaper called The Dawn. During the recent Kargil war, the Indian
government had blocked access to The Dawn.
The Indian hackers have left a message to their Pakistani counterparts
saying that they should "keep their hands off Indian sites."
Among threats of "breaking the Internet backbone" of Pakistan, the
hackers have also warned that "India is the superpower of Information
The Pakistani hacking has made many Indian sites take a fresh look at
how to protect themselves. Satish Chatterjee, a network administrator
in site-hosting company Powernet, said the best solution is just to
monitor the sites 24 hours a day.
"Most of the hackers do nothing more than take the user to a different
URL where they have posted pro-Pakistan messages," Chatterjee said.
"Frankly, most Indian corporate sites are easy targets for Pakistani
hackers because they contain static HTML pages.
"It's difficult to hack a database-driven site. These are some of the
things that those owning the sites should understand."
Though the Indian government's Information Technology bill that was
passed this year has not addressed the problem of hacking to
everybody's satisfaction, a body called Cyber Crime Unit has been
created. This unit is a branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Though the main task of the CCU is to grapple with more serious
crimes, like the theft of credit card information, it has also kept a
close watch on Indian hackers who are enthusiastic about defacing
"We have managed to disable some Indian hackers' sites that have
distributed hacking tools or pasted slogans against Pakistan," said
Sundari Nanda, the superintendent of police attached to the CCU. "We
are working on ways to deal with hackers from Pakistan like G Force
and Doctor Nuker. Now there has been an increased activity from a
group called Attrition, which used to target Israeli sites and has now
shifted its focus to India.
"We ourselves got a mail just the other day. The fact that it was a
very heavy mail made us cautious. It was a virus that we traced back
to an ISP in Pakistan."
She added that the Intelligence Bureau has been notified. But an
official there admitted, "There is no high-level coordination between
the governments of India and Pakistan to curb this cross-border
cyberwar. The general perception among decision makers is that the
hacking has so far been harmless, nothing more than immature
expression of patriotism from both sides."
Since Kashmir cannot be won over the Internet, it appears, both the
governments are taking it a bit easy.
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