Prophet row: 70 Indian government, private websites hit by cyberattacks
Former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled party leader Naveen Jindal's controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad have created quite a stir. In the latest development, a slew of cyberattacks hit 70 Indian websites—government and private. Websites of the Indian Embassy in Israel, National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, and Indian Council of Agriculture Research, among others, have fallen prey to "hacktivist" group DragonForce Malaysia.
- BJP's now-suspended spokesperson Nupur Sharma had made controversial remarks about the Prophet and his wife during a TV channel debate on the Gyanvapi Mosque issue.
- Her remarks sparked uproar and elicited responses from religious organizations, political parties, and Gulf countries, prompting the BJP to suspend her.
- A series of hashtags began trending on social media and demands to boycott Indian goods also gained steam.
Websites of prominent educational institutes—including Delhi Public School and Bhavans—and 50 sites in Maharashtra were also hacked. The Malaysian hacktivist group reportedly posted audio clips and texts on the attacked websites, sending out the message: "For you is your religion and for me is my religion." It called on Muslim hackers and other human rights organizations and activists to start an anti-India campaign.
The Times of India reported that the Indian government sites and private portals were defaced between Wednesday and Sunday. The hacktivist group, which has around 13,000 members, also reportedly attempted to deface the website of a prominent bank. It also claimed to have access to the accounts of Indian government employees. To substantiate its claim, the group a sample set on its Twitter account.
Reportedly, in an operation called "#OpsBedil 2.0," DragonForce Malaysia had allegedly hacked and leaked the personal information of about 300,000 Israeli students from one of the country's largest recruitment networks, AcadeMe, last year. The group had attributed the leak to Israel's 11-day conflict with militant outfit Hamas. Various CCTV networks, including those at residences and government agencies, were also allegedly hacked into last month.
Meanwhile, the terrorist organization al-Qaeda in the Subcontinent (AQIS) earlier issued a letter dated June 6, 2022, threatening to carry out suicide attacks in India to avenge the insulting remarks about Prophet Muhammad by Sharma and Jindal. In the letter, the AQIS said that it would launch suicide attacks in Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat to "fight for honor of the Prophet."