Cyber warfare ahead of India’s biggest election battle

Over a week after it was allegedly hacked on March 5, the website of the world’s largest political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, was still down today with “maintenance mode” on display.

On Tuesday the mystery over the website’s disappearance deepened when India’s information technology minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad finally admitted that the site was hacked for a “few minutes”. He didn’t indicate when the site is expected to be back. Interestingly, on March 7, BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya had claimed that the website was down due to “technical glitch”, not because it was hacked, even as screenshots of the non-functional portal were full of abusive messages and memes of Prime Minister Modi along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Cyber-security expert Nandkishore Harikumar, who is also CEO of Technisanct, told Newslaundry, “It’s surprising that the website of such a tech-savvy party is harmed so badly that everything from static and dynamic content is wiped out and experts are unable to restore the normal functions of the site even after 10 days.”

It is unclear if email passwords of party members, donor details, candidate surveys, and caste analyses—which are crucial for parliamentary elections—have also been wiped out from the BJP site.

The Chhattisgarh BJP website was also hacked on February 21 and it is still under “maintenance”. The party blames “Pakistani hackers” in its First Information Report.

The BJP is not the only political outfit targeted by the hackers. The Gujarat Congress had also faced a cyber attack on February 21. It was restored within hours. ..Read More..

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