Goa police registered a first information report (FIR) against an unknown person after the flood monitoring system of the Water Resource Department came under a cyber-attack and hackers demanded bitcoins cryptocurrency. The news soon broke on social media with several people tweeting and the development:
Another tweet user pointed out:
According to the department’s executive engineer Sunil Karmarkar, the server had been subjected to a ransomware cyberattack and all files were encrypted with the “eking extension” and could not be viewed.
He also added that the attackers demanded Bitcoin in lieu of data decryption. The engineer also informed that the attack occurred between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. on June 21, 2022. He also highlighted that the data's integrity had been compromised, making back-up of earlier data impossible.
Karmakar also said, “The server works on the 24x7 internet line and the attack was eased due to absence of antivirus and outdated firewalls,”
Interestingly, the lawsuit was filed on June 24, but it has just now come to light.
As a result of the attack, the department lost all of its historical data which can now not be backed up locally, as well as real-time data of the rivers that are currently flooding due to the ongoing monsoon season. The department no longer has access to data pertaining to various station battery voltages as well.
Data from the flood monitoring system at 15 places along Goa's major rivers was saved on a server at the Panaji data centre in order to monitor river flood levels as part of disaster management and to prevent future flooding. Data from the flood monitoring system, automatic rain gauges, and weather gauges was operated by ASTRA Microwave Products Ltd of Hyderabad at the Water Resources Department headquarters in the state capital.
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