Nepal | January 24, 2021

Hackers gain unauthorised access to .np domain

The group also threatens to infiltrate Nepal Electricity Authority’s system

Umesh Poudel
Share Now:

Experts caution against taking the warnings lightly. They say more investment needed in the ICT sector

Kathmandu, April 15

A group of hackers that had managed to gain unauthorised access to webpages and data systems in Nepal launched a cyber attack and gained access to the dot np (.np) domain of Mercantile Communications Pvt Ltd.

The Cyber Bureau of Nepal Police believes the group managed to access the .np domain by exploiting the personal details of customers of Foodmandu, Vianet Communications and Prabhu Remit. Their sites were hacked recently.

Senior Superintendent of Police Nabinda Aryal, who heads the Cyber Bureau of Nepal Police, said the cyber cell was actively trying to trace the hackers. “We are confident that we will be able to unmask the hackers and bring them to book soon.”

A user with twitter handle ‘Satan’ — which the police suspect is a group account of the hackers — had pointed out a security flaw in the .np domain. The hackers then claimed to have launched a cyber attack and gained access to the .np server.

According to Mercantile, which provides the .np domain, the hackers had informed the company that they had managed to access the domain server on Monday night. “The majority of data in this server is public information available via the ‘whois’ query. Our preliminary investigations suggest that all other .np domain services remain uncompromised,” it said in a press statement.

Nevertheless, the company has suspended new domain registrations for the time being as a precautionary measure and said that since it was a developing situation, it would notify customers if there were any significant developments.

The company, which has been providing .np domain for the past 25 years, has already registered 83,000 personal and business domains.

Meanwhile, the hacker group has also threatened to infiltrate the system of government and private offices. Among them are Nepal Electricity Authority, Daraz Nepal, Kantipur Publication, Nepal National Museum and all the district agriculture offices under the Department of Agriculture and National Nepal Library.

Prabal Adhikari, spokesperson for NEA, said the hackers had threatened to hack into their electricity bills payment system, load dispatch centre and revenue system last night.

“As soon as we received the threat, we alerted our information technology head, as well as international equipment vendor, and put necessary measures in place to block any cyber attack,” he said, further clarifying that the blackouts last night were caused due to the thunderstorms and had nothing to do with the hackers.

Manohar Bhattarai, an Information and Communications Technology expert, said while the use of information technology had surged significantly in the country, the safeguard measures that should have been in place are lacking.

“The concerned stakeholder should not treat the warnings of the hackers lightly and boost investment to build a robust ICT infrastructure. Failing to do so could cost us dearly,” he warned.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 16, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Supreme Court of Nepal

Lawyers spell out flaws in PM’s move

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 22 Lawyers representing the petitioners who have challenged the dissolution of the House of Representatives said Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli could only exercise powers given by the constitution and the current constitution did not give him the power to dissolve the HoR. Adv Read More...

Nepal Gazette submitted

KATHMANDU: The Office of the Attorney General on Friday submitted the copy of the Nepal Gazette that has printed the notification about the HoR dissolution. The notification was posted on the website of the Department of Printing on Thursday. Information Officer of Department of Printing Padma Ra Read More...

Protest against Oli’s decision draws huge response in capital

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 22 Three top leaders of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal today spoke against the prime minister’s move to dissolve the House of Representatives while addressing a rally organised by the party in the capital. NCP Co-chairperso Read More...

New Patagonian dinosaur may be largest yet: Scientists

BUENOS AIRES, JANUARY 22 Scientists have unearthed massive, 98-million-year-old fossils in southwest Argentina they say may have belonged to the largest dinosaur ever discovered. Human-sized pieces of fossilised bone belonging to the giant sauropod appear to be 10-20 per cent larger than those Read More...

Protests over House dissolution throw city traffic out of gear

KATHMANDU, JANUARY 22 The demonstration staged by the Dahal-Nepal faction of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) over dissolution of the House of Representatives threw the city traffic out of gear after thousands of party cadres staged rallies from more than a dozen places of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Read More...

UK chief scientist says new virus variant may be more deadly

LONDON: There is some evidence that a new coronavirus variant first identified in southeast England carries a higher risk of death than the original strain, the British government’s chief scientific adviser said Friday -- though he stressed that the data is uncertain. Patrick Vallance told a ne Read More...

Schumer: Trump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8

WASHINGTON: Opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial for Donald Trump over the Capitol riot will begin the week of Feb. 8, the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the schedule Friday evening after reach Read More...

Hank Aaron, baseball's one-time home run king, dies at 86

ATLANTA: His name is all over the baseball record book and, indeed, Hank Aaron could do it all. Sure, he's remembered mostly for dethroning the Babe to become baseball's home run king on the way to 755, but don't forget about the .300 average, or the graceful way he fielded his position, or the d Read More...