As per Secretariat sources, the desktops had been malfunctioning since Friday and the matter was promptly reported to the Information Department, cyber cell police and a private firm specialising in cyber safety.
While there were reports stating that the suspects who had attacked the computers demanded ransom in cryptocurrency, DT Next could not verify the authenticity of the claims as top police officers maintained that there was yet to be an official complaint from State authorities.
Sources said that old operating systems and lack of security software updates are a common problem in most computers at the Secretariat. “Several government officials know how to operate the computers but lack of technical skill sets to protect the desktops from cyber attacks is obviously lacking,” an officer in the ranks of Deputy Secretary admitted.
“The Public Department is a heavy file department that maintains files related to VIP movements, ministerial data, transfer of civil service officials and policy matters, but the staff who joined 15 years ago continue to slog under the same routine without upgrading their computer skill sets and system maintenance is Greek and Latin for most,” admitted another Department insider.
When contacted, an official said that the Department has the practice of maintaining files in manual format, so the eight computers crashing isn’t alarming. Further, we have the data base ready to run minimal operations with the help of computers. The issue is being dealt with by the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu and cyber attack specialists. The police monitoring cyber crime have also been informed, the official said.
“Whether you have an old OS or new OS, there is no 100% guarantee that the computer is virus and spyware proof. This is just a cyber attack and we have the manual mode in full operation mode without affecting the Department work,” the official noted, adding, any important file related to VVIPS and VIPs are handled only manually.
“We are checking landline internet connections and the usage of pen drives and the mails used in the Department so that the attack is contained fast,” said another government official heading a Department.