NEW DELHI: He goes by the alias “Bl@ck Dr@gon” and claims to be the one behind the hacking and defacement of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) website earlier this month. Bl@ck Dr@gon, the Indian hacker who says he is only 16 years old, pulled off one of the major hacking attacks in the massive cross-border website defacement activity earlier this month that saw over a dozen Indian and Pakistani websites hacked. On the defaced PPP website home page, he had left an email address.
Bl@ck Dr@gon told TOI in an email exchange that he and a group of hackers work in tandem to hack and deface websites, mostly as a means of self expression. The attack on the PPP website, which Bl@ck Dr@gon claims to have hacked all by himself, was in response to Bilawal Bhutto’s inflammatory statement on Kashmir.
“Statements of foolish politicians drive me to hack and deface these sites — it’s the way we express our thoughts. I think Indian cops shouldn’t have a problem if I hack Pakistani sites. Me and my team (sic) — Indian Hacker’s Online Squad — never hack Indian sites,” says the teenager, who did not divulge his real name. He also didn’t reply to TOI’s follow-up mail for more personal details.
Cyber lawyer Pavan Duggal points out that such actions would be liable for action, albeit only when reported. “If the hacking takes place through a computer resource located within India, it is punishable under section 43 and 66 of the Information Technology Act,” says Duggal
The news of a hacking or defacement activity is often quickly circulated through Facebook groups. In the recent attacks and counter attacks that took place in the Indo-Pak cyberspace by hackers from both sides of the border, the targets were varied. They included, among others, websites of Indian actor Mohanlal, singer Sonu Nigam, the Pakistan electricity board, a Lahore university institute, the Press Club of India.
While these may seem random, the choices are made with consideration. Reciprocity seems to trump an independent mandate or a set of principles. “Mainly we try to hack high rank/popular sites, or sites of famous people, so that our message easily gets conveyed to the government and the people. We try not to (harm) sites of innocent people, but as you know, Pakistani hackers are hacking Indian sites of innocent people so we don’t have a choice,” Bl@ck Dr@gon said.
All said and done, the recent hacking face-off revealed serious lacunae in website security on both sides of the border. “Government websites are not secure enough. The government should get their websites’ security tested and patched to prevent hacking,” says the student hacker, offering his and his team’s services to the Centre for free.