Hyderabad: The e-tendering system is not very transparent because contractors are taking the help of hackers to hack into the corporation’s account and find out who the lowest bidder is.
For instance, when a road tender is called through online system, the lowest bidder should get through as per the rule. The contractors, to check the lowest bid, peep into the system, usually a day before the tender deadline, and quote even less in their tender.
It is alleged that hackers charge Rs 15,000 for each tender hack. The E-tender Manage-ment is a software introduced by the Telangana government to help reduce the cycle time, unnecessary paper work, waiting in long queues and to maintain transparency while allocating contracts.
Mr Umesh Thota, CEO of Authbase, a cyber security company, said, “If a corporation’s account is hacked, it means that the survey is very vulnerable. There are two types of surveys, security by design and security by obscurity. It depends entirely on what survey the government agency was operating under and wether they have been able to update it to the latest e-commerce security system. If not, the survey is very vulnerable. Unless the systems are secured by design concept, one will always be able to exploit the tenders.”
Hackers never advertise, but work through recommendation. However, hacking government accounts is not possible in project tenders that run into crores like the Strategic Road Development Plan of GHMC, because the government agency outsources the job to a cyber security private firm. These multi-crore projects first have a pre–bid tender step, wherein the contractor’s payments, performance and quality of work are evaluated. Unless the contractor qualifies the pre-bid step, he cannot submit the technical tender. The second step includes technical bid and those who qualify are eligible for the commercial bid, which decides the lowest bidder. The contractors will have to pass through these procedures to get the project.
Hacking is being done for lower cost projects. An officer of the cyber security cell said, “Hacking of tenders is possible but an alteration of prices cannot be done for contractors who have already submitted their bids due to the digital signatures. Thus most contractors submit bids in the last minute. But tenders of government agencies that have been outsourced to private firms are relatively safe since they check on the event log which records details of IDs hacking the account, documents opened, and there is also a check on internal employees.”