Legion hacker group: India's IT Minister calls for complete audit of India's IT and banking infrastructure

India's IT Act is over 16 years old and archaic in a modern world. Our banking and IT infrastructure is also il-equipped to deal with cyber security threats

India’s Union Minister of Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad has responded to the claims of hacker group Legion by ordering a complete audit of India’s IT and banking infrastructure and calling for an overhaul of India’s 16-year old IT Act.

Legion has recently been in the news for hacking Twitter accounts of the likes of Rahul Gandhi, Vijay Mallya and Journalist Barkha Dutt. While the Twitter hacks are in themselves disturbing, the group’s claims of infiltrating the IT infrastructure of government and banking institutions in our country are more worrying.

In an interview with Factordaily, the group claimed that the Indian banking system was already compromised, claiming to have access to data from NPCI (National Payment Corporation of India) and IDRBT (Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology) servers.

The group also claimed that other hacking groups will bring the Indian banking system “down to its knees”. They add that they have encryption keys and certificates used by some banks in India, as well as root access to NPCI and IDRBT servers. If true, that last means that the group can masquerade as the bank, generate fraudulent transactions, launch sophisticated phishing attacks and more, while leaving no trace of their actions.

The veracity of all of Legion’s claims is uncertain, but it’s undeniable that India’s IT infrastructure is in need of a major overhaul.

Speaking to The Economic Times, Prasad said that the “need of the hour is the hardening of the security wall.”

Under the IT Act, 2000, it is the responsibility of all banks to report any cybercrime incidents to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) and Prasad has insisted that these rules be followed. The Economic Times report adds that Prasad called for a meeting with senior banking officials responsible for security, where he emphasised the importance of a secure banking environment in a digital India.

The report also adds that CERT-in now has a dedicated portal for dealing with digital transactions. The establishment of the BotNet Centre and National Cybercrime Coordination Centre will reportedly be expedited.

Hackers have and will continue to remain a threat to any IT infrastructure anywhere in the world. Legion’s claims have, at the very least, served as a wake-up call to our banking infrastructure.

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