India on Monday admitted that there have been attempts at hacking into the computers of the Indian embassies, but underlined that it has taken a slew of measures to ensure no sensitive information was stolen in the process.
"We have been through this process before," Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters here.
He was responding to media reports of a vast cyber network controlled from China that targeted governments and private computers in 103 countries, including those of the Indian embassy in Washington.
"There is no proof of any link to the Chinese government," Menon said.
"We assume there will be attempts to hack into computers, but we have taken steps to prevent it and to ensure that consequences are not catastrophic," he said.
To ensure that no sensitive information is stolen, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Indian embassies have instituted a stringent protocol on the usage of e-mail by serving officers that includes frequently changing passwords and using e-mails only for routine communication. Officers are not allowed to use social networking sites like Facebook or do blogging on office computers.
The ministry has instituted a periodic security review of all MEA computers to ward off cyber threats, official sources said.
Hacking has been going on for the last few years, but the safeguards have ensured that national security was not breached, the sources said.
In May 2008, the MEA's internal communication network was allegedly broken into by Chinese hackers, but the government insisted that no sensitive information was pilfered.