19-yr-old hacks BSNL server

Amit Jha

Bhopal, Nov. 8 -- Intending to expose security loopholes in government websites, a 19-year- old Khandwa boy hacked the all India server of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and got access to its confidential database. Nikhil Thakur, self- proclaimed ethical hacker, says the national website of the BSNL - www.bsnl.co.in - is vulnerable to hacking and one can even alter the information inside the website.

When asked did he take BSNL authorities and police into confidence before hacking the server, Thakur said, "I had sent a mail to the chief general manager of the BSNL but there was no response from him."

Speaking to HT on the issue, chief general manager of BSNL (MP and Chhattisgarh circle) said, "Why this young boy is after BSNL! He should use his talent to build firewalls using these cases and do something constructive. Moreover we don't have any private data on our website."

However, deputy superintendent of police (cyber crime cell) Deepak Thakur said, "Hacking government websites is a punishable offence and attracts three years jail. Before proving his point, the teenager should have taken BSNL authorities and police into confidence and also BSNL should build a foolproof server so such incidents should not occur again."

However, Nikhil claims that being able to penetrate the official website of government telecom company BSNL shows how insecure the sensitive data is. As the content is also vulnerable to alterations by hacker, it can bring a bad name to the service provider, he says.

Time and again, we come across incidents of violation of cyber laws. It can harm a person or organisation's goodwill and may also cause monetary losses.

When website of Central Bureau of Investigations was hacked recently, major terrorist groups were under suspicion. Crucial data are stored in government websites. Though Nikhil claims he did not use any information for his personal gain but experts believe that government must take this incident as a warning sign and start to beef-up their online security. "The web application security on all domains of BSNL is very low," says Nikhil.

Nikhil is a BCA student in Indore and aspires to work in the IT sector.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.