The Bharatiya Janata Party’s official website was finally back online on Thursday, more than two weeks after it was hacked. Following the breach on March 5, the homepage of the website briefly showed a meme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The website was taken down soon after the breach, and until Thursday evening, displayed a message saying the party was carrying out maintenance work. No hacker group has claimed responsibility for the breach.
Though the site was back online on Friday, it only showed one static page. The page has the party’s first list of 184 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, which was released on Thursday.
“After weeks of maintenance the BJP website is back...Well, it’s not really the website, it’s just 1 static page,” said French cyber security researcher Elliot Alderson on Twitter. “That confirms what I said: following the hack, they lost everything and they did not have any backups.”
On March 12, Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the website was hacked only for a few minutes, IANS reported. “There are rogue elements in the society,” the minister told reporters at the Digital India summit in New Delhi. “The site was hacked only for a few minutes. We got back control very soon.” However, he did not say when the site was expected to be brought back online.
Cyber-security expert Nandkishore Harikumar had earlier told Newslaundry that it was surprising that the party had been unable to restore the website even after 10 days. “Normally, website maintenance takes an hour or two and the portal is up the same day following a crash or hack – provided backups are available,” he told the website. “Restoration of database may take a few days but it is done at the server end during which website can function almost normally.”