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Bomb scare, hacking put Hyderabad on edge

Coming close on the heels of the terror attack in Bangalore on Wednesday evening, which claimed one life, this city had reason to be edgy.

india Updated: Dec 31, 2005 20:59 IST

An anonymous call about a bomb in Hitec City, an IT hub on the outskirts of Hyderabad, and the hacking of Andhra Pradesh's e-governance network sent police into a tizzy on Saturday.

Coming close on the heels of the terror attack in Bangalore on Wednesday evening, which claimed one life, this city had reason to be edgy.

While the bomb threat proved to be a hoax, police admitted that hackers had broken into AP State Wide Area Network (Apswan) but failed to steal key government data.

Apswan is the main server of government-owned AP Technology Services (APTS) Limited. It is through this network that the chief minister holds videoconferences with district officials and key official data is transmitted between the state headquarters and districts.

Director General of Police Swaranjit Sen admitted at a news conference that APTS server was hacked but claimed that hackers failed to steal confidential information.

K Sunitha, managing director, APTS, had lodged a complaint with the police station dealing with cyber crimes. However, Sunitha or any other official of APTS refused to talk to the media.

Meanwhile, there was an anonymous call about a bomb in Hitec City but after thorough checking it turned out to be a hoax.

Police said Cyber Pearl, the third phase of Hitec City, received a call around 11 am about a bomb being planted in the building. The entire building housing several IT companies was evacuated and policemen accompanied by dog squads and bomb disposal teams searched the premises and after about two hours declared the building safe.

"No explosives were found during the search," said S Jayram, inspector of Madhapur police.

Hyderabad Information Technology Engineering Consultancy (Hitec) City Cyber Pearl and the surrounding area, known as Cyberabad, house several IT giants.

The bomb threat and hacking of the government server also came a few days after intelligence warnings about possible terror attacks on IT parks in Hyderabad and Bangalore. Some militants arrested in West Bengal, Rajasthan and Hyderabad had revealed plans of Lashkar-e-Taiba to attack IT parks in the two southern cities.

Police had beefed up security arrangements at key installations here, including Hitec City, after the Bangalore attack.

Police had last week arrested a local commander of Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen. Earlier this month three activists of Harkatul Jihad were arrested in connection with a suspected suicide blast at the City Police Task Force headquarters in Hyderabad in October. The suspected suicide bomber and a policeman were killed in the blast.

First Published: Dec 31, 2005 20:59 IST