India: State Security Operations Centre issues ‘threat alert’

Cyber Security Operations Centre issued a threat advisory to all departments a couple of days ago against using private e-mails in view of their vulnerability to attacks in phishing and other forms, and blocked the said e-mails as a precautionary measure. This resulted in private e-mails not working at the Secretariat departments and other offices. Speaking to The Hindu, Principal Secretary (IT, Electronics and Communications) K. Vijayanand said it was not a technical snag but deliberate blocking by the IT Department of the e-mails which were susceptible to cyber attacks. All departments have been alerted about it and advised to stick to official domain-based (‘ap.gov.in’) e-mails accounts to avoid potential attacks, he stated, dismissing speculation that it could be an act of mischief. People were excessively habituated to private e-mails which faced threat from malicious software like Ransomware, in spite of the availability of secure e-mail addresses, he observed. The alert was also necessitated by the need to safeguard the IT assets in the wake of the attack reported by TCS which is the service provider for AP-DISCOMs.