Friday, August 12, 2011

Home Ministry Of India Banned Google And Facebook For Its Employees

Restricting access to social networking sites at governmental offices is a common feature. This is done to prevent compromise of crucial government computers at such departments.

It has now been reported that the home ministry of India has banned its officials and staff from opening social networking sites such as Google, Facebook, etc and the websites of free online games on official government computers after it has received fresh reports of cyber espionage attacks on sensitive government installations, including the home ministry.

While this is not an absolute measure to prevent compromise of Government Computers yet it can reduce the numbers of compromised computers to a great extent, says Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based ICT and IP law firm Perry4Law and the leading techno-legal expert of India.

The home ministry advisory warns that attackers have used “Google, Facebook and some other social networking web portals” to “identify critical individuals” to “steal information and passwords for further espionage from the infected computer”. Ministries and departments, particularly the home, defence and external affairs ministries and the Delhi police, need to take extra precautions, an MHA official said.

MHA officials have also been told not to access personal emails on the Internet from an official computer. There should be a restricted usage of USB computer storage media such as pen drives, memory sticks and external hard disk drives. Officers, moreover, should not visit any website “not connected” to his/her work, the advisory said.

The officials have also been directed not to use personal email accounts such as those on Yahoo, Rediffmail, Gmail, Hotmail, etc for official matters, even for drafting concept notes, and use only NIC email accounts to send official information. The MHA also asked its officials to change passwords every 15 days and not disclose these to anyone.