The website of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has been shut down in response to hacking attempts. This action has been implemented deliberately to stop the hackers in getting successful and cause loss to precious data. According to Director General IT, Mr. Khizar Aziz, Russian and Indian hackers attempted to hack the website but those attacks were successfully negotiated and all the precious data present at the website is absolutely unharmed.
He further commented,
“Had our host server was based in Pakistan, then there could have been immense loss.”
He provided the information that the ECP server resides in Canada and it is being transferred to a much more secure server after the attacks have been launched on the website. According to sources, the strategy is to keep the website offline until the transition period is over. The data present on ECP website is very important as this data is related to upcoming General Elections 2013 scheduled in May.
Earlier on Friday, many online forums were full of the news and complaints that the ECP official website is inaccessible. This attack happened in such time when the traffic to the website is quite heavy due to approaching General Elections. According to ECP, after the new server is decided and the website is active again, the nomination papers of candidates will be uploaded on the website and public will be able to view them online.
The hacker’s identity is described as NIGh7 Fox and the information available about the process reveals that the hacker was able to hack the website and then he altered the homepage of the website. According to Rafay Baloch, a white hat professional from Pakistan expressed his views on this attack and he mentioned that other Government websites are also at risk of such attacks. He said that it is now relatively easy for the hacker to attack those websites having PKNIC registry system as the vulnerability of this shared registry system has been exposed by the first attack. Any website having .pk DNS (Domain Name Space) are vulnerable.
The attack was discovered on 29th of March 2013, around 8:00 PM Pakistan Standard Time, when the IT team of ECP was trying to upload data of overseas Pakistani nationals and discovered that the website is under cyber-attack.