NEW DELH(PTI): The government has barred use of private servers for hosting Army websites following a cyber attack recently on an Army website where personal details of many Army personnel are believed to have been compromised, government said in Lok Sabha on Friday.
In March, the official website of Office of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Officers) was believed to have been hacked compromising personal details of many Army personnel. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the House that action has been taken in the matter, with the website being secured and hosted on the NIC network. "It was a case of a private server which was used on outsourcing... We have issued instructions not to take private servers for hosting Army websites," he said during Question Hour.
The Minister was responding to a query by AIADMK member K Parasuraman, who wanted to know the status of the inquiry into the incident where, he said, personal details of over 50,000 Army officers including the Chief of Army Staff are believed to have been compromised following the hacking of the website of the Office of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts. Meanwhile, Parrikar noted that no operational matter of the Army, Air Force or Navy is on the Internet.
"It is all on intranet... It is within the force-specific network for Army, Air Force and Navy," he added. In reply to another question, Parrikar said the government has taken a number of steps to protect confidential information pertaining to the defence sector from cyber attack. "There are no reports of defence sector networks being attacked by cyber hackers and foreign intelligence agencies. "However, cyber attacks are faced by Internet connected personal computers and these relate to unauthorised data access, denial of service, compromise of logic credentials," he said.
Parrikar was replying to a query on whether reports of defence networks being continuously attacked by cyber hackers and foreign intelligence agencies have come to the notice of the government. "To protect important and confidential data from cyber attack, the operational networks of the Armed Forces are air gapped from Internet.
"Further, Defence Services have established Cyber Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to prevent and react to cyber attacks," the Defence Minister said. He said safeguards have been instituted in the form of audits and physical checks. "Policies, guidelines and procedures are laid down and cyber security advisories are issued from time to time," he noted.