GUJRAT: Computerised land record services across the province have been suspended since Saturday after virus attack corrupted the software of the Punjab Land Records Authority (PLRA).

The Computerized Land Record Centers (CLRCs) at 143 tehsils remained open on Sunday on the direction of the PLRA management since the concerned officials were striving hard to resolve the issue.

The management said it might seek the help of the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) officials. The PLRA maintains the record of over 55 million holdings, mainly of farmers.

Sources said the virus ‘RANSOME’ had corrupted the software called the Land Record Management and Information System (LRMIS)) and its computers at more than a dozen record centers in Gujrat, Sialkot, Daska, Pasrur, Chunian, Malakwal and Faisalabad. They said Faisalabad was the worst hit where the virus had affected the entire data base of the LRMIS.

The district administration in Gujrat had to intervene on Saturday when people protested against the suspension of the services at the CLRCs.

“Someone somewhere used Usb-internet and this was a golden chance for virus and hackers to enter the software as well as computers since LRMIS is a networking-based technology,” said an official of the PLRA.

Some heads of CLRCs and computer experts informed this reporter that LRMIS had no security shield against virus attack. “The only security is that it does not run on internet and hence it is difficult for outer bodies to enter its system.”

Another official said that the management at the PLRA lacked qualified higher staff with updated knowledge of information technology.

He said only four data base administrators were recruited by the PLRA who later assumed managerial posts with high salaries of about Rs 350,000 a month. This was good for them but they did not hold refreshing courses to update IT knowledge of other staff, said another source privy to the matters related to the administration of the PLRA.

He said the same issue was with CLRCs who were not equipped with new updates of IT.

The PLRA has asked the service centre incharges (SCIs) across the province to keep the services suspended even today (Monday).

A senior Officer of PLRA told Dawn the authority had been making all out efforts to rectify the issue as the services of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) might be hired to rescue the LRMIS from the virus attack.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2017

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