Cyber Attack on Pakistan's Electoral Commission Website

The website of Pakistan's Electoral Commission was reportedly defaced on Friday, March 29, 2013. According to local news website The Express Tribune, “[an Indian hacker] defaced the home page and has possibly compromised its availability to visitors.” It is not clear what led the website to identify the nationality of the attacker.

The Electoral Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is an independent body tasked with supervising general elections this year, which will take place on May 11.

Polling place in Lahore, Pakistan, 2008. Photo by boellstiftung. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Polling place in Lahore, Pakistan, 2008. Photo by boellstiftung. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Saturday, as the attack entered its second day, the Electoral Commission decided to shift its website to another server. Sources from the ECP told Geo News that all election-related data was secure despite the attack.

As of mid-day Saturday, March 30, the website was accessible in Pakistan but connection to it remained slow according to a user in-country who was contacted by Global Voices Advocacy.

Asked about the nature of the attack against the ECP website, a cyber expert told The Express Tribune that it may be linked to the Spamhaus attack, the largest Distributed Denial of Service (or DDoS) attack to date that has targeted major data exchanges around the world slowing traffic in Europe and North America.

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