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web security


Fortunately, the breach was minor and no student information was leaked. However, this does raise concerns about how secure our information really is.

On the 24th of March, students of the Zakir Husain Day College, Delhi University received Whatsapp forwards informing them that their official student portal had been hacked. This student portal can be accessed through the college website and provides the students with information regarding any notices, fee submission guidelines, attendance, paper details and internal assessment scores.

A screenshot displaying how the site appeared to the users, post the hacking.
A screenshot displaying how the site appeared to the users, post the hacking.

The only visible evidence of the breach was that the words at the bottom of the website had been changed. The hackers had chosen to replace the welcome message with abusive and inappropriate language. This was subsequently taken down and the website was fixed later in the evening on the same day.

Since there was no leak of any student information, the hack was minor and seemed to be more about mindless foolery and less about an organized information breach. However, it does point to a security problem. The portal contains important information about all the students of the college and hence demands a higher standard of security so that an event such as this is not a regular occurrence.

When the representatives of the college administration were contacted a day after the breach, they were unaware of its happening. The Information and Technology cell on the other hand, avoided the question about the measures taken to increase security on the platform.

Acknowledging the breach would be the first step towards taking corrective measures. In an age where all our information is stored online, hacking does become a significant threat. An acceptable standard of security is expected from all the establishments who are responsible for the safekeeping of our information.

Image credits: DU Beat archives

Pragati Thapa

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