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Computer Virus Blocked Indian PMO’s E-mail System for Three Months

E-mail system of the Indian Prime Minster's Office (PMO) remained affected by a computer virus for 3 months during 2008. The technical fault overshadowed the PMO e-mail communication system caused by the Microsoft Outlook Express between February and April 2008.

Although the magnitude of the damage was not known, the PMO claimed that many e-mails forwarded to the office didn't reach the inbox. It was only in April last year when the problem was found.

The incident was unveiled when the Central Information Commission (CIC) conducted hearing session and the PMO submitted its grievance of virus infection that continued for three consecutive months - Feb-March-April - until discovered in April last year. At that time, CIC was conducting hearing of retired Air Commodore Lokesh Batra case, who complained to PMO, regarding the discrepancies in the Hindi edition of RTI act.

While submitting the grievance to the CIC, the PMO informed that several mails sent to the office didn't reach the Outlook Express and consequently, the Outlook Express was replaced with the Squirrel Mail.

An IT expert claimed that what is amusing is the failure of IT experts posted at the PMO to identify the problem for 3 months. Cyber forensic experts inform that attacks by virus can break into any mail security.

Wajahat Habibullah, Chief Information Commissioner, said in his suggestion to the PMO that there is room for more improvement in offering services to ensure smooth functioning of the RTI applications, as reported by newsX on March 15, 2009. Habibullah also adds that video conferencing should be downloaded at the PMO and in its branch in the Rail Bhavan Office to enable the usage of CPIO by the applicants throughout the country.

In addition, the targets on Indian government agency sites and systems have multiplied and a major part of this includes worms or viruses covered under the harmful code category. The Indian intelligence agencies reveal that the anti-Indian elements in Pakistan may be responsible for attacks against Indian computer systems.

Related article: Computer Virus Writers Adopt New Strategy

» SPAMfighter News - 20-03-2009

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