After a Home Ministry notice to the Department of Telecom to monitor social networking sites for cyber security and intelligence,
the Union home ministry has banned officials and staff from Facebook, Google + and Twitter. Surprisingly, this notice also includes "websites of free online games” on official government computers.
This comes in the wake of cyber espionage attacks on sensitive government installations, including the servers of the Home Ministry.
The Home Ministry advisory blames “Google, Facebook and some other social networking web portals” in identifying "critical individuals” to “steal information and passwords for further espionage from the infected computer”. This was done by sending Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel File or PDF documents with titles that the target would be interested in.
These files were codes with malicious software, and “once opened, the attachment executed some of the malicious scripts and downloaded the second level of binaries from a URL. These binaries would act at the command of the attacker, including stealing some of the information and passwords for further espionage.”
All Home Ministry offices in New Delhi — at North Block, Jaisalmer House and Lok Nayak Bhavan - were sent this advisory two weeks ago.
In a lecture, National Security adviser Shivshankar Menon stated that the government is concerned with maintaining the security of critical data and networks used for storing information, referencing the 8,000 cyber attacks on the Delhi Commonwealth Games’ ticketing and scoring systems in a lecture.
Both the bureaucracy and government departments have successfully used social media to reach out to the public's concerns and woes - most visibly the Traffic Police and Municipal Corporation Facebook Pages.