Representative Image Mumbai: The police email ID hack is the second such attack on a state government entity. On October 12, 2020, a malware infestation caused a massive power grid failure, resulting in an outage in Mumbai and its surrounding areas for hours.

At the time of the incident, nobody had even remotely suspected that the grid failure was caused by a malware attack. That Chinese hackers were responsible came to light earlier this year when the state government submitted a report on the matter.

On Tuesday’s police email hacking, an official said, “It appears prima facie that the attack was made either from Pakistan, Delhi or from a remote village in Uttar Pradesh.”

Superintendent of police (Maharashtra cyber cell) Sanjay Shintre said, “We have initiated an inquiry into the hacking and have requested police officers not to open the PDF file as it may lead to a hacking of their emails. Today, out technical team visited the Shivaji Nagar police station, where the east region cyber cell office is located, and studied mails.”

Unauthorised cyber access is punishable under section 43(a), read with section 66, of the Information Technology Act, and is a cognisable offence. “The point is, what reasonable security practices are Mumbai’s cyber police following to avert cybercrime being perpetrated on themselves? I feel all cyber police stations should be quarterly audited for security lapses and the same should be plugged before adversaries take advantage,” said cyber crime lawyer Prashant Mali.

On March 1, the state cyber department submitted a report to the Maharashtra government on the October 12, 2020 power grid failure, which hit Mumbai and its surroundings.

The report blamed the incident on a malware attack, explaining that 14 trojans and 8GB of unaccounted data was found in the Maharashtra State Electricity Board’s system. The home minister at the time had said, “A well known American company has said that maybe it was the Chinese who could have introduced the malware… Our finding was that some foreign companies were indulging in planting malware.”

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