The Indian National Congress‘ website was reportedly hacked and its party leader, Sonia Gandhi’s profile page defaced with sexual innuendo and pornographic messages, according to reports from Reuters and AFP. While it’s not clear as to when the attack took place, the reports suggest that the attack was timed to coincide with the party president’s 65th birthday today. They also suggest that the website has been inaccessible to the public since noon after the hacked profile was discovered. However it must be noted that MediaNama is unable to verify any of the claims and the Congress’ website was working, at the time of writing this post.
The AFP report quotes Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakhan who acknowledged that he was aware of the incident and informed that the Congress party’s computer department was currently investigating it. The text left on the defaced site included a reference to a Pakistan-based email address, according to the report.
This attack comes close on the heels of Indian government asking ISPs and Internet companies including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to remove any defamatory, obscene and inflammatory material from their platforms and bring in mechanisms to “pre-screen” user generated content from the country to avoid any such objectionable material on their websites. There were reports that the Government had come into action after it discovered certain objectionable content including caricatures of the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi.
Cybercrimes & the Indian Govt.: The Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Sachin Pilot, had informed the Lok Sabha, earlier this month, that cyber crime cases has more than doubled in the last year with 219 government websites being hacked, 356 cases booked under Cyber Crime related Sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 966 cases booked under the Information Technology Act in 2010. Before this, he had also informed, in August 2011, that a total of 117 Government websites were defaced during the period January to June, 2011. Prominent hacking activities among them being an attack on BSNL by the Pakistan Cyber Army and attacks on the Indian Army website and National Informatics Centre (NIC) by Anonymous India.