Government websites face pre-launch testsIn a bid to safeguard the government’s digital presence from possible cyber attacks, a taskforce has recommended that all the websites hosted by public offices undergo vulnerability assessment and special test before putting them on line.
In a bid to safeguard the government’s digital presence from possible cyber attacks, a taskforce has recommended that all the websites hosted by public offices undergo vulnerability assessment and special test before putting them on line.
The three-member taskforce led by Department of Information and Technology Director General Birendra Kumar Mishra was formed after a group that identifies itself as “Paradox Cyber Ghost” reportedly hacked as many as 58 official websites recently.
The committee is scheduled to submit its report to the Ministry of Science and Technology on Sunday.
The sites hacked by the group include the domains hosted by the Ministry of Defence, the Office of the Auditor General and the Nepal Law Commission. According to Mishra, while the Defence Ministry is developing a new site, other websites are back on line after technical upgradations.
The study shows that most government websites did not comply with the parameters set in 2011. An official at the ministry blamed officials for the vulnerability of government websites.
“There isn’t uniformity. Websites have been developed haphazardly, hiring amateur developers and relatives of officials by flouting security issues,” the official said.
The committee has recommended that the government agencies obtain clearance from the department before powering their website. Annual audit of websites has also been recommended. “We are capable of auditing it as soon as the ministry gives a go-ahead,” Mishra said.
The committee has also recommended recruiting a dedicated system administrator in all the government offices. Such officials, according to the recommendation, should monitor cyberspace minutely and report it to senior officials on a daily basis. “The government’s system should be prepared for all kinds of threat,” Mishra said, adding that annual training for computer technicians is necessary in the face of increasing technological threats.
The department recommends that the capacity of the National Information Technology Centre, in human resource and equipment, needs to be upgraded. Paradox Cyber Ghost, in a Facebook conversation with the Post, had claimed that five computer geeks hacked 58 government websites in just three minutes. The group said its act was just a “vulnerability test” having no other motive.
Hackers in July 2015 crippled the official website of the President of Nepal while the website of the Department of Passports was breached last month.