There have been attempts to hack into the government computer network, but till date there has been no loss of vital information, says Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology Sachin Pilot.
"Yes, there have been attempts but I can categorically say that not one attempt has been successful," the minister said. "The government's computer network system, maintained by the National Informatics Centre, is highly efficient," Pilot told IANS in an interview.
Earlier this year, hackers tried to penetrate government computers in vital ministries including the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA). These attacks, officials said, originated in China.
According to the Computer Emergency Response Team, a cyber security advisory and referral agency of the Department of Information Technology, 570 Indian web sites were defaced by hackers during January this year, against 271 during the like month of last year.
During the whole of last year, a total of 6,023 cases of defacement were reported.
The agency also said that during January, out of 246 cyber-security incidents, as 63 per cent related to spamming, 18 to phishing, 8 percent to malicious viruses, 76 per cent to unauthorised scanning and the rest to other categories.
Former NSA MK Narayanan, who is currently West Bengal governor, had stated that his office and other government departments were targeted on the same date that US defence, finance and technology companies, including Google, reported cyber attacks from China.
The hackers had sent an e-mail with a PDF attachment containing a Trojan virus. But the virus, which allows hackers to download or delete files, was detected and officials were told not to log on until it was eliminated.
Pilot pointed out that such hackers were usually scanning the entire system to find weak spots. "But our people are very efficient and well trained. Safeguards have ensured that national security has not been breached."
The Ministry of External Affairs and Indian embassies have instituted stringent protocol on the use of e-mails by serving officers, which includes frequently changing passwords and using e-mails only for routine communication.
Besides, the ministry has instituted a periodic security review of all computers to ward off cyber threats.