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Bangladesh’s NID server shut for 38 hours for hacking threat | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

The authorities kept the Election Commission’s National Identification server shut for long hours between Tuesday and Wednesday amid threats of cyber-attacks, causing suffering for service seekers.

The server was restored at about 2:00pm on Wednesday after being kept shut for more than 38 hours from zero hours on August 15.

The Election Commission’s NID wing officials said that they had reopened the server after neutralising some threats.

Addressing a press briefing on Wednesday, the NID wing’s director general, AKM Humayun Kabir, said that they had kept the server down since zero hours on August 15 following threats of cyber-attacks.

There had been media reports about the possible cyber-attack on August 15. He said that the server was kept down amid the situation and for maintenance purposes as well.

Humayun said that they informed their decision to keep the server down to 171 organisations that take services from it.

‘We have not made any public announcement about the temporary shutdown of the NID server, thinking that it would spark panic,’ he said.

The development comes amid reports of cyber-attacks by Indian hackers.

Recently, both government and private institutions saw several hacking attempts, said the NID wing and law enforcement officials.

On August 15, the Bangladesh government’s Computer Incident Response Team issued a warning stating that critical information infrastructures, banks and financial institutions, healthcare, and all sorts of government and private organisations were at risk of possible cyber attacks.

The warning signed by BGD e-GOV CIRT project director Mohammad Saiful Alam Khan also read that all organisations were advised to be aware of small- to medium-scale cyber-attacks and take the required precautions to protect their infrastructures.

Saiful told New Age on Wednesday that there had been some attacks on some websites, but no website was compromised or hacked.

‘A total of 12 attacks were reported to us. The targets were different government websites. The attacks and hacking attempts were prevented within a short time,’ said Saiful.

Some other organisations faced attacks on their websites, ranging from defacements to sites being taken down for certain periods.

This includes the websites of different police units, ticketing websites, and some bank websites. However, almost all of them were recovered within hours, said an official of BGD e-GOV CIRT.

While talking to the media, Project Director, Identification System for Enhancing Access to Services, Brigadier General Abul Hasnat Mohammad Sayem said that they monitor the sever round the clock by the security operations centre.

‘We have noticed some minor threats. We have negotiated and evaluated the threats. We have restored the server, considering that it is safe to run,’ said Sayem.

He said that the NID server was now completely safe and in full operation.

Amid cyber-attack threats, Bangladesh Bank earlier on Monday said that some web-based services of the central bank would remain inaccessible from 8:00pm on Monday to 8:00am on Wednesday as it would carry out emergency system maintenance activities.

Banking services linked with NID have been delayed due to the server being shut down for long hours, said Association of Bankers, Bangladesh chairman Selim RF Hussain.

He said that online services like KYC could not be provided promptly.

NID is required for opening bank accounts, remittance transactions, know your customer (KYC) verification, loan applications, mobile banking, and digital financial services, bankers said.

In addition, for certain account-related transactions, such as large withdrawals or transfers of money, banks require NID verification to ensure the security and accuracy of the transaction, they said.

A staff of a mobile network service provider said that they faced troubles while registering SIM cards for customers.

In July, a US-based tech news site, TechCrunch, reported that a government website leaked personal information about citizens, including full names, phone numbers, email addresses, and national ID numbers.

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