Nobody has the slightest idea that cyber attack on Power Development Department’s Bemina Data Center on June 24, 2020 will cost dearly to lot many consumers of both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory divided by the mighty, majestic and marvelous Pir Panjal Range as the muggers have left the computer systems housing all the records of consumers of the sole electricity provider in UT bereft of vital data having details of pending dues on account of consumed power units. Those responsible for safety and security of data and system software meant for running the affairs of PDD were caught napping by the hackers and the damage was done ostensibly. Thereafter, in a hurry, attempts were made to ensure damage control by restoring, besides other things, the billing segment, which was crucial as billing dates were approaching. Through colossal efforts somehow bills were reportedly generated but for many the amount shown as ‘pending’ or ‘bills’ were shockingly out of proportions making them to run helter-skelter for course correction or to find the reason behind the ‘err’. Whatever is the emerging situation with respect to consumers complaining about inconsistent billing, one thing is praiseworthy that officials at the front end of the department dealing with public are cooperating with people while convincing them about things going haywire due to cyber attack something which is seldom seen in government departments. This attitude of the PDD officials must be eulogized though at present they are not in a position to bail out consumers affected by inflated billing as the system of department is not fully restored. What has come out of all this is a significant lesson for PDD and other departments to safeguard their systems including hardware, software and firmware through annual maintenance contracts, anti-hacking strategies, etc so that such unfortunate incidents do not reoccur in future resulting into lot of inconvenience to departments and the concerned people. It is quite surprising that PDD’s system was working without required ‘firewall’ to prevent malware attacks especially when hacking has become so common with hackers trying hands on vital resources. It is hoped that the damage suffered by PDD in this attack is not much but of course taking things lightly in future can prove disastrous. It is therefore advisable to act fast and act right to set up a system which is fail-safe.
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