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Computer hacking: army officers under scanner
Published on 16 Jun. 2010 12:47 AM IST
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Indian probe agencies are looking into the possible role of two senior army officers in a suspected espionage ring, following the hacking of the computer of a major based in the Andamans, sources said Tuesday.
The sources said a joint team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Military Intelligence (MI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has expanded its probe into what has so far been termed only as a “cyber security breach”. The NIA is probing if there was a deliberate leak of information from the major’s computer.
Two senior officers of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) could be called for questioning soon, the sources said, but refused to give their rank or designation. The revelation comes a day after the security agencies tracked a server in Pakistan that was used to hack the computer of an Indian Army major in the Andamans who is also being questioned by the NIA, MI and IB.
The sources said the computer of the major had some sensitive information in over 2,500 defence presentations. The files in his computer have been found to be beyond his sphere of work and some of the files, the sources said, are “secret and even top secret”.
The sources said the suspected senior officers would be questioned on how a major, a middle-level officer, had access to sensitive information that had nothing to do with his assignment. Andaman and Nicobar deployment is part of the tri-service command where all the three services work as one unit under the overall command of the IDS.
According to the sources, the computer of the major was being accessed from two proxy servers. The location of one of the servers has been tracked to Pakistan while there is some confusion over the origin of the other server, which is also likely to be based in that country. The sources said a forensic report has also pointed out that some key files and e-mails were deleted from the computer after it was seized by authorities.
The major came under the scanner after a tip-off from US intelligence agencies examining suspicious internet traffic during their probe related to Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Headley.
The American agencies found a user in Andaman and Nicobar Islands dispatching to a computer in Pakistan a picture of a serving Indian brigadier who was attending a training programme in the US.
Indian agencies quickly zeroed in on the officer and a quiet operation was planned to call him to New Delhi. The major has pleaded ignorance.
The major has been called twice to the national capital and has been detained for questioning. His computer is currently with the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in Hyderabad.

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