ISLAMABAD: A group of Indian hackers going by the moniker ‘Lulzsec India’ defaced the official websites of over a dozen ministries and government departments, including the Ministry of Information Technology, on Monday.

The official websites for the Cabinet Division, Establishment Division were among those affected, while the web pages for the following ministries had also been defaced: climate change, defence, defence production, law, energy, inter-provincial coordination, information technology, industries and production, national food security and research, parliamentary affairs, petroleum and natural resources, railways, religious affairs, states and frontier regions, and water resources.

The websites of other constitutional bodies, such as the Senate, National Assembly, Supreme Court, Election Commission of Pakistan and the provincial high courts, did not seem to be affected.

However, although the official websites of some ministries, such as commerce and textile, communications and foreign affairs did not appear to be defaced on Monday night, they were later taken offline by authorities.

Ministry of Information Technology Secretary Rizwan Bashir told Dawn that teams were working to rectify the hack, which had affected a total of 22 sites.

He said that some government websites were locally hosted and had not been affected by the hack. Those that were defaced would be taken offline and ‘Under Maintenance’ pages would be posted instead until the websites were finally restored.

A hacker using the screen name ‘r00t d3str0y3r’ claimed responsibility for the hack, and posted a Gif image of Indian soldiers at what appeared to be the Siachen glacier, bearing the message: “We Salute Indian Army”.

A message congratulating India on its 71st Independence Day on Aug 15 was also posted on the defaced sites.

All the defaced sites also featured a quote from the Bhagvad Gita: “You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.”

‘Lulzsec India’ previously claimed responsibility for hacking Pakistani government websites in April this year, after a military court awarded the death sentence to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2017